• Lorena Bravo

The 'Essential' Haircut. Not!

My name is Lorena Bravo, I’m a resident of Northampton County with a business location in Lehigh County.

I’d like to start this message by commending you on the work that you’re doing for all of us. Something that I learned during “Marriage Prep Class” a few years back - [when your spouse makes you angry] think to yourself, did he/she do what they did because they wanted you to be upset? The answer is ALWAYS no! No one who cares about you, hurts you intentionally, remember that! It’s with that approach that I write the following: and I’m not saying this because of my affiliation to a specific political party - THANK YOU! Thank you for doing what you’ve felt is best for your constituents, I trust that you have made decisions with our best interests in mind. I’m choosing to believe that this is true and with that in mind I say the following…

The elephant in the room

The photo circulating with Brit Crampsie providing a haircut for a government staffer is BAD, like, kicking your dog bad!

Most importantly, it highlights a larger issue with the State Board of Cosmetology and the current state of affairs for licensed beauticians in the Commonwealth. I feel strongly that a (task-force) or a committee dedicated to addressing cosmetologists is essential during this time. YOU and US [your constituents] need to be allies, as long as rules and regulations are being discussed without an aesthetician or a cosmetologist in the room, there isn’t proper representation. If there is one, who is it? Who on the State Board of Cosmetology is irate, angry, hurt, upset, asking questions, demanding answers??? That’s what I’m wondering this evening. Surely, the State Board of Cosmetology should be much more than an inspector showing up unannounced wondering how many brushes, towels and sheets there are in a closed container within the proper square footage of a salon space. Surely, the State Board of Cosmetology does MUCH more than send its licensees reminder emails for license expiration dates and amendments on outdated regulation.

Cosmetologists are angry and they should be. I know I am!

We are under-represented, forgotten, left to fend for ourselves and FURIOUS! Like you, we are eager to reopen safely, unlike some of your staffers however, we have had to bite the bullet and wait this thing out. Not by choice, but because of your decisions and mandates. We’ve been forced to accept that due to the nature of our work we cannot possibly perform the work we do without exposing ourselves or others to the virus. We’ve been deemed non-essential, threatened with steep fines, and labeled as ‘unsafe’ until… well, when it’s time! Elective surgery is able to reopen this week but an elective service isn’t? How can we contend with that? Did you, the Commonwealth of PA, not license us both cosmetologists and physicians alike?

Issues at hand

  1. Not many have been approved for PPP.

  2. Many, many, many, licensed and in some cases unlicensed people are still providing services- and have, since the shutdown. Just because they’re not publicizing it does not mean it’s not happening. (Given issue #1) hard to blame them, won’t you agree?

  3. OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19: one word - ROBUST! Are all currently open businesses compliant?

  4. Hospitals will be opening for elective surgeries this week. Beauty services are elective as well. Does the Commonwealth not trust all of its licensees to make good, commonsense, healthy decisions for their consumers? If that is the case, does that not highlight a failure of the State Board of Cosmetology more than it does the professionals it licenses?

  5. The Commonwealth MUST address this community. What’s up? I get more emails from clients wondering if I’m ok, than what I get from the people who sit on the State Board of Cosmetology. What even entitled them to be on the Board?

  6. Has PPP reached all salon owners? I personally had to wait until I spoke to my accountant to be able to properly fill out the application form for my bank. My bank asked for additional information that was not even part of the original SBA application. Is the Commonwealth regulating that? If it isn’t, it should! Why are some institutions taking so long to approve or deny applications? If beauty providers are the last to open, should they not be the ones to receive this monetary support first?

Moving forward

I truly feel like this is an area of opportunity for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and for us to work cohesively and make a difference together. We have a HUGE impact on the State’s health initiative, our community of licensees has a great burden to keep us healthy to avoid the spread of the virus. The fact that we are not being included as an intricate part of the reopening plan, but only addressed as the “why you can’t work group because of the type of work you do”, is creating an incredibly negative and toxic environment! I happen to believe that the narrative can be shifted, if we address this valuable group of professionals who want to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem for our State.

I ask you, Board Members; Felicia Brown-Haywood, Tracy Bruno, Kristal Ferron, Carolyn Folk, Debora S. Neatock, Tammy, O’Neill, where you stand with all of these issues? Consider addressing some of these publicly, please. Make licensees a part of the proposed solutions. Your silence is deafening, what makes you worthy of sitting on the Board?

I’d love to Zoom, correspond or just talk with anyone who feels that this is important. I challenge you, State Board members to step up and be transparent, can any of you relate?

It’s been reported that many will open for business in defiance of ordinances this week, can anyone blame them? Personally, I’ve always been afraid of authority and frankly, spending money I don’t currently have on litigation is a huge drag for me, so I won’t. I remain hopeful in our government and its ability to do what’s right for us. Hopefully our community of licensed professionals will be addressed with regard and respect in the future and at the very least represented when it matters most.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, I look forward to hearing from you soon.


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