Los Angeles County will allow hair salons and barbershops to resume indoor services with modified operations, officials said Wednesday.
The announcement was first made by Supervisor Janice Hahn, who tweeted that an updated L.A. County’s health officer order would allow those businesses to begin operating indoors again, with capacity limited to 25%.
Those businesses, however, must be fully compliant with the health officer’s protocols in order to allow customers inside again, according to Dr. Muntu Davis, the county’s health officer.
“I encourage all to follow the required county protocols and all personal protective actions. They are for the safety of our employees, our customers, and will help us to improve our case rates,” Davis said at an afternoon news conference.
He also urged hair salons and barbershops that have been offering outdoor services to continue those outside, thereby saving the limited occupancy for procedures that need to be done indoors.
The change to the health order comes days after Gov. Gavin Newsom launched a new color-coded, four-tiered system to guide business sector reopenings in California amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While introducing the plan last Friday, he also announced that the state would once again permit indoor services for those specific personal care services across the state.
But L.A. County initially held off on the expanded operations, making the decision after a meeting involving the county’s Board of Supervisors and Public Health Department on Tuesday.
Newsom also said indoor shopping malls could reopen this past Monday, but L.A. County has not updated its health order to permit that just yet. Under California’s guidance, counties are allowed to be more strict in their guidelines than the state’s order.
L.A. County is currently in the purple tier, or tier 1 — the most restrictive stage, which indicates the risk level for COVID-19 transmission is “widespread.”
Under the state’s new reopening guidance, counties must remain in a tier for at least three weeks. In order to move into a less-restrictive stage, the county has to meet the next tier’s criteria for two straight weeks.
But L.A. county recently has made strides in tamping down transmission rates, which saw its seven-day case rate average drop to 10 per 100,000, according to the latest figures released by Davis. On Monday, he said the average over the past week was at 13 per 100,000.
“The longer our counties seven-day average case rate remains above seven, as determined by the state, the longer we will remain in the state’s most restrictive tier,” Davis said.
That will help the county to advance to a new tier, provided those numbers hold and continue to improve.
As counties progress through the system, more business sectors are able to reopen and some modifications lifted.
Because of that, the county won’t be able to evaluate options for increasing capacity beyond 25% at hair salons and barbershops until three weeks after Labor Day, according to Hahn.
Still, Davis encourages a cautious and measured approach to reopenings, noting the previous attempt by the state and counties resulted in a number of business sectors being closed or limited once again.
“As we slowly reopen sectors, we’ll watch how closely … it is impacting our county transmission,” he said.