New York Facial Studios Are Campaigning to Open Back Up—Here’s Why It’s Important

Hits: 22

Image may contain Human Person Patient Therapy and Clinic
Louise showcasing her studio’s health and hygiene protocols for a safe reopening.Photo: Georgia Louise

Some have argued that for a city like New York, where there are over 40,000 licensed estheticians that are predominantly female, these restrictions are inherently sexist. “Barbers are performing full shaves—a maskless service,” underlines Pavitt. “To view a facial as more dangerous and to treat it differently seems misogynistic in comparison. Barbers…dentists…these are predominantly male-owned businesses, while spas and facial studios are predominantly woman-owned. If there were 40,000 men’s jobs on the line I feel like this would have been addressed much faster.” For Michael Pollak, co-founder of facial studio Heyday, where 93% of the company’s pre-COVID-19 make up was female-identifying, forcing facial studios to stay closed plays into the long history of personal care services being painted as superfluous. “Trying to put a pecking order of necessity to some of these truly non-medical personal care services gets tricky, and our view is that we all should have the chance to safely reopen with protocols that are responsible and state-approved,” says Pollak. “The work of estheticians is being unfairly devalued here.”

To elevate the urgency (as well as the latent hypocrisy) of the situation they’re facing, Louise and Pavitt have joined forces with Heyday, Rescue Spa, GlowSpa, and SB Skin to lobby in Albany for facials to resume. It all began in June when Louise started a petition on behalf of The Coalition for Facial and Skin Care Services, requesting that Governor Andrew Cuomo reconsider the decision to keep facial studios closed as part of Phase 4. Since then, they’ve continued banding together to secure the attention and cooperation of Governor Cuomo’s office, as well as invited supporters on Instagram to write to Cuomo, providing a direct link to a pre-drafted email laying out all the reasons why facial studios should be allowed to reopen. “We weren’t as public with our quest earlier this summer, as there is clearly a health and safety perspective to these decisions and New York has been a national leader in this respect, a state we’re proud to have started our company in!” explains Pollak. “But, at this point, we’re in the land of being overseen and forgotten while others are getting a ‘medical’ bye and businesses of a broader variety can reopen. We want to be treated equally here.” While facial studios, as well as industry groups, such as the Salon & Spa Professionals of NYS, connect with Albany via attorneys and other communication channels, there has been no word of any plan or timeline for facial studios to reopen. “It’s unfortunate that there have been no updated guidelines for the facial industry and we have all been left in the dark while we are ready to open our doors tomorrow,” says Louise. “We all feel like it is our last chance to make a noise and be heard.”

Yes, support from loyal clients and industry leaders has provided solace, but the reality is that it’s difficult to stay positive with continued uncertainty and financial pressures mounting. “My fears are that we will be left out of the reopening conversation completely, which will be devastating to so many women-owned businesses often built from the ground up,” says Pavitt. “I really hope it doesn’t come to that.”

Continue Reading

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

14 + 13 =