Good news, New York—manicures throughout the state are about to get much safer for both the manicurist and the manicuree. Following last month's New York Times exposé on corrupt nail salons, Governor Andrew Cuomo put a multi-agency task force into place to investigate businesses throughout the state. Today, Cuomo announced plans to roll out laws and regulations to reform the industry, as well as programs offering job resources for the technicians. "With new legislation and emergency regulations, a public outreach campaign in multiple languages, and a thorough investigation of the chemicals that are used, we are standing up for those who have been unable to stand up for themselves," he says in a statement. "Today, New York State is sending the message loud and clear: We will not tolerate abusive or unsafe working conditions—period." The new laws will give the Department of State the power to shut down any businesses that are not following the law, regulate the chemicals used, and establish standard requirements for proper ventilation and protective equipment. Additionally, salons that are found breaking the law will receive a Cease and Desist notice, which will be required to be posted in their window.
As filmmaker Adele Free Pham predicted, the legislation won't be entirely punitive. The Department of State plans to expand the languages of licensing exams to include Nepali, Tibetan, and Vietnamese among the current offerings of English, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Russian. A Nail Salon Worker's Bill of Rights will be posted in salons, which outlines what entails a safe working environment, legal wages, as well as a hotline for the employees to file complaints or ask questions. It's certainly a step toward making the nail industry a safer, more ethical place for all parties involved. Head over to governor.ny.gov now for more information, and to see the list of regulations in full.