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California has released new guidelines for personal care service, including hair and nail salons, that will make it easier for such businesses to operate outdoors amid a surge in coronavirus cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday. 

The guidance is meant to clarify what those businesses “can and can’t do” relating to haircuts and other activities typically performed in an indoor setting, according to the governor. 

“Turns out, without getting into too many details, but issues of chemical and shampoos, perms, it was more complicated than some had considered, particularly as it related to local ordinances and rules and regulations that were in place,” he said at a news briefing.

Under the new rules, hair, skin and nail services, as well as massages, can be done outdoors. Other services, such as tattooing, electrolysis and piercing, will be prohibited from being performed outside because they require a hygienic environment.

The updated outdoor guidance — which are on top of other already issued guidelines that include mask and social distancing requirements, as well as enhanced sanitation protocols — include:

  • Ensuring that outdoor operations are in compliance with all code requirements from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
  • Making sure that equipment, such as cords, don’t pose a tripping hazard.
  • Using a skin protectant when in the sun.
  • Halting operations, moving away from electrical writing and sheltering indoors if lightning is reported within 6 miles of your location.

During the briefing, Newsom emphasized that outdoor activities are considered lower risk in terms of transmitting COVID-19 than being indoors.

He also stressed that individual actions will determine how quickly business sectors can reopen and resume normal operations.

Newom’s clarification comes amid a surge in new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in the state, and one week after he imposed sweeping new measures on counties that have been on California’s watchlist for at least three consecutive days. That included mandating restrictions on indoor operations of various sectors, such as restaurants, houses of worship, gyms, and hair and nail services.

As of Monday, 33 of the state’s 58 counties are impacted by the state’s order, including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

According to the state’s latest data, the Golden State saw 6,846 new infections on Sunday, bringing the seven-day average of positive tests to 8,911.

To date, California has confirmed 391,538 cases of COVID-19, of which nearly 40% have occurred in Los Angeles County.

The state also reported nine additional coronavirus-related fatalities on Sunday, sending the death toll to 7,694.

Hospitalizations, meanwhile, have increased roughly 16% over the past 14 days, with more than 6,900 patients currently being treated for the respiratory illness. That includes 1,943 patients admitted to intensive care units.

But, according to the governor, California experienced a decline in the increase of hospitalizations compared to three weeks ago. Last Monday, comparatively, the 14-day hospitalization rate rose by 28%.

“That’s an encouraging sign,” Newsom said.