By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A nail salon in North Hollywood that is fighting to stay afloat is remaining open for its customers, despite a statewide health order to shut down.

The Laque Nail Bar in North Hollywood. July 20, 2020. (CBSLA)

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When Laque Nail Bar was first shut down in March, owner Robert Torosian decided to get certified as a biohazard cleaning technician so he would know the best and safest ways to eventually re-open.

“We researched everything from NASA to surgery centers in Germany to find out everything they use to keep everything sterile and disinfected,” Torosian said.

Not only did Torosian invest in a touchless temperature check, he spent $30,000 on air purification systems, UV disinfecting lights and special anti-microbial paint.

Customer CC Boyle says she felt comfortable coming back when she heard about all the safety measures.

“Even prior to COVID, they were the most cleanly, they cared about not reusing, a lot of places reuse items, reuse utensils, they don’t do any of that here,” Boyle said.

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In mid-June, Los Angeles County nail salons were allowed to reopen. However, it was short-lived due to the surge in coronavirus cases. On July 13, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all the counties on the state’s monitoring list – which currently numbers 32 — to close indoor operations for hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, gyms, shopping malls and houses of worship. That includes the entire Southland region and about 80% of California’s population.

By law, California salons are supposed to operate indoors. Torosian says his license and insurance doesn’t allow them to move outdoors, and he doesn’t want to. He said the only way to stay in business and keep his employees working is to keep his indoor operation open.

“There’s no infection control outside, there’s no way to do disinfect, proper health and safety protocols,” he said.

So he’s going to keep taking customers inside, even though he knows it’s against the rules.

“At this point, it’s not about profits or it’s not about profitability, it’s barely just about trying to survive,” Torosian said.

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The state posted new guidelines Monday afternoon for personal care services that want to move outside, including a requirement that all businesses must have a canopy or tent, with no more than one side.