California Gavin Newsom has held regular press conferences in response to the current COVID-19 crisis to keep us all up to date on the current community spread and the government’s plans and expectations. Recently during the last few minutes of a press conference that took place this past Thursday, the governor identified the source of the state’s pandemic, pinpointing its first source.

According to Governor Newsom, California’s first known COVID-19 spreader popped up in a nail salon.

“This whole thing started in the state of California, the first community spread, in a nail salon,” Newsom said in a statement to the LA Times. “I’m very worried about that… right now, all of our health indicators and health directives that I received from health directors across the state put some red flags in that space.” According to reports, Newsom’s explanation was meant to explain his “decision classify nail salons as higher-risk environments than schools, and therefore designate them to open during phase three of his four-phase plan to get the country’s largest economy back online.”

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Despite the apparent transparency, Newsom’s words have not been met with support or positivity from the nail industry.

The nail industry, which has already struggled deeply in the wake of the Coronavirus was quick to condemn Newsom’s words on Twitter. In a statement to Refinery 29, Tran Wills, the owner of Base Coat nail salon whose flagship locations are based out of California and Colorado said called the statement irresponsible. “I think it was an irresponsible and reckless thing to say because there was no meat behind it — no facts, no details, no explanation,” Wills explained. “I’ve been trying to call the California Department of Public Health for more information, but can’t get through. My emotions of anger and sadness are running high.”

Users online have also condemned Newsom’s statements and questioned his motives behind them.

Some users have chalked up the governor’s comments to the recent racist wave targeting Asians and accusing them of being the source for the current pandemic. No doubt, the spread of this misinformation from our own government leaders, including Donald Trump is extremely disconcerting.

Speaking to Refinery29 about the Governor’s comments Lisa Fu, the executive director of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative Owners acknowledged that his words will have negative impacts on the industry. “While I recognize the Governor’s clarifying statement yesterday… we remain deeply concerned about the potential economic and anti-Asian backlash that has already been inflicted upon this industry from Thursday’s remarks… Workers fear that his comments are too little, too late and we welcome an open dialogue with the Governor so that he can understand more about the nuances within the nail salon industry and understand their critical needs at this time.” 

Ultimately, while it’s clear that uncertainty about the source and outcomes of COVID -19 reigns supreme, it’s also obvious the fate of salon owners is up in the air,