Many of California’s counties, excluding Los Angeles, are now allowed to reopen barbershops and hair salons — with major modifications, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday.
The eased restrictions apply to 47 of California’s 58 counties that have provided attestations that they meet criteria for a faster reopening — and have been given the green light by the state. They include Orange, Riverside, Ventura, San Bernardino and Santa Barbara counties.
Densely-populated Los Angeles County, which remains the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in California, is not included in the list but officials announced Tuesday that they have “achieved necessary readiness criteria” and will apply for the variance from the state to reopen faster.
“Some parts of the state will not be able to pace as quickly into Phase 3, and we continue to be responsive to those concerns and the needs of those local communities to slow down the pace of reopening, and we respect that,” Newsom said at a news conference.
L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said the county will wait for the State’s clearance for reopening personal care services.
The state released guidelines for barbershops and hair salons to protect from the spread of the coronavirus in counties where the businesses are allowed to reopen. Protocols for disinfecting surfaces and physical distancing guidelines are included.
Salons that reopen may only provide services that allow for both the worker and customer to wear face coverings for the entirety of the service, officials said.
This means that haircuts, weaves and extensions, braiding, lock and wig maintenance, hair relaxing treatments and color services can be provided. But services like eyebrow waxing and threading, facials and eyelash services are still not allowed since they involve touching the customer’s face, according to the state’s guidance.
The businesses will have to provide protective gear to their employees and train them on COVID-19 prevention plans, making sure they remain in compliance and adhere to the state’s guidelines. “Failure to do so could result in workplace illnesses that may cause operations to be temporarily closed or limited,” officials said.
All workers and customers will have to be screened for high temperatures and other COVID-19 symptoms when they come in, according to the state’s guidelines. Officials said customers that show signs of illness should have their appointments canceled or rescheduled.
State officials suggested that the businesses book fewer clients each day and stagger appointments to reduce crowding, as well as make sure there’s enough time for cleaning.
“Hair salon or barbershop owners or operators must acknowledge that lessees should only resume operations when they are ready and able to implement the necessary safety measures to provide
for their safety and that of their customers,” state officials said.
Officials had resisted reopening salons sooner since they involve close contact and are considered to be at “higher risk” of coronavirus outbreaks.
Earlier this month, the Professional Beauty Federation of California, which represents licensed beauty professionals, filed a lawsuit against the governor in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The group said the state’s orders violated the rights of more than 500,000 licensed professionals, many of whom faced financial struggles as parlors grappling with lost income laid off their employees.
The state adopted a phased approach to reopening spaces in the state, allowing counties that don’t have any COVID-19 deaths for 14 days straight, have stable daily COVID-19 numbers and have sufficient testing, containment and hospital capacities, among other requirements, to move faster through the stages.
This has meant that retail stores were allowed to reopen to customers and restaurants could again open for dine-in service at the 47 counties that received approval for an accelerated reopening.
On Monday, the state allowed churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship to reopen, as well as retailers for in-store shopping— both pending county approval and with strict guidelines. This marked the beginning of a transition away from earlier plans that had a later reopening date planned for the so-called high-risk locations.
But even as restrictions are loosened, Newsom warned California isn’t out of the woods yet and urged residents to follow public safety guidelines.
“We’re not even out of the first wave of this pandemic,” Newsom said. “People are talking about the second wave. That’s many, many months off. The reality is this pandemic has just begun it hasn’t ended.”
The governor said the state will be putting out further guidance for reopening summer camps, child care facilities and schools Wednesday.