SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A fight for survival at the capitol. Salon owners say they need to fully reopen now or close for good because of ongoing financial struggles.

“We are dying out here and yet they let the prisoners, we have not committed a crime but yet we are on death row. We might as well just shut it down,” said salon owner Polly Codorniz.

California is the only state in the country where salons must operate outdoors in order to stay open. Surrounded by states that allow services indoors with strict safety protocols and restrictions, frustrated salon owners gathered at the capitol Tuesday to protest.

“It’s almost like surreal to think that we would close our salon down and not do hair after 42 years,” said Diana Acevedo.

READ: ‘They Feel Like Human Pinballs’: Salons Willing To Defy Order To Reopen

So what is the risk of getting your hair done indoors? Dr. Philip Norris, the Vice President of Vitalant Research and an infectious disease expert, says in terms of virus transmission, going inside anywhere is riskier than outside, but there are factors when it comes to actually getting sick indoors.

“Without a mask [the risk is] high, with masks on both the clients and the salon workers probably medium, outdoor low,’ Dr. Norris said. “It depends on how high the virus load in the air around, so certainly just because you are not facing someone doesn’t mean you can’t get infected.”

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He talked specifically about the amount of virus inside someone’s nose.

“One of the things that we don’t understand about transmission, and we think of the people who have the really high virus load, we call them super spreaders,” Dr. Norris said.

Still, owners feel it’s safer to provide services indoors given their training in keeping salons clean.

“Hundreds of clients and we have yet to have a COVID case in our salon,” Codorniz explained. “And you are asking our clients to sit under a drape that’s hotter than hell. We live in the valley, it’s 106.”