Gov. Gavin Newsom Identifies Nail Salon as First Point of Community Spread in California

In this April 9, 2020, file photo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom listens to a reporter's question during his daily news briefing in Rancho Cordova, Calif. California's major deal for hundreds of millions of N95 respirator masks hit a delay in its federal certification process, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday, May …
Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Thursday identified a nail salon as the first instance of community spread of the Chinese coronavirus in the state.

“This whole thing started in the state of California, the first community spread, in a nail salon,” Newsom said during Thursday’s press briefing in Sacramento, explaining his reasoning for ordering salons to remain closed in the first two phases of the state’s reopening.

“I just want to remind everybody of that, and that I’m very worried about that,” he continued, adding that many salons had already added additional safety precautions like masks, gloves, and increased sanitization.

“That has to all be factored in, and candidly our health directors — the experts, the council that I’ve received — are very worried about moving precipitously into that next phase,” he said.

“We hope to get it in the next new phase shortly, but 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,” Newsom added.

Michelle Saunders James, owner of Saunders & James Nail Care in Oakland, was taken aback by the governor’s explanation of the first case of community spread occurring at a nail salon.

“Had they known that this was the situation, absolutely zero information was ever sent to any nail care people in the industry at all,” she said, according to CNBC. “It was very scary to hear that.”

The Golden State moved into the second phase or reopening on Friday, which opens “lower risk” workplaces and public spaces. However, the state warns that this “isn’t a return to normal”:

The warning coincides with the governor’s proclamation this week that the state will not return to normal until there is a vaccine.

“We’re not going back to normal. It’s a new normal with adaptations and modifications, until we get to immunity and a vaccine,” he said on Tuesday.

California had 60,614 confirmed cases of the virus and 2,504 related deaths as of Thursday, according to the California Health and Human Services Agency.

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