Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled some revised rules around barbershops, hair and nail salons, and massage parlors on Monday, allowing them to offer services outdoors.
Lobbyists for the hair and beauty industry successfully argued last week that personal care services should be allowed to operate outdoors the same way restaurants are in most California counties. And as of this week, these businesses have been granted a waiver exempting them from a California Business and Professions Code that required cosmetology and haircutting business to be conducted inside a licensed establishment. So now, hairstylists, nail salons, and other businesses up and down the state are setting up their chairs and stations on sidewalks and outdoors in parking lots.
"It was our intention to provide for barbershops and the likes to do their work outdoors,” Newsom said during his Monday press conference. "It turns out that was more challenging than it may have appeared, but the good news is we have new guidelines out now."
The guidelines include requiring hairstylists and barbers to wear masks at all times, along with their clients, and any tents or shade structures must be open on at least three sides to allow sufficient airflow. Public health experts believe that the coronavirus is easily dissipated and not as easy to transmit in outdoor settings.
In addition to hair and nail salons, small gyms have been moving equipment onto sidewalks in San Francisco, and drive-in movie theaters are having a renaissance as a way to get out of the house.
With more than half of California counties — representing about 80 percent of the state's population — currently on the state's monitoring list due to increasing COVID-19 metrics, this revised order is the latest compromise to help businesses reopen and move more commerce outdoors.
Hairstylists say the situation isn't ideal — all that windblown hair and such — but they're glad to be able to work after some were briefly teased with reopening and then saw health orders shift again last week.
"We can’t continue to go on not being able to make a living and not being able to pay our bills," says Denise Russell, the owner of San Jose's Special FX Salon & Day Spa, speaking to the Mercury News. "We’ll keep fighting to get our salons open with proper distancing and protocol, but having the opportunity to work outside is better than nothing."
Massage therapists are also being permitted to operate outdoors, so contact your favorite spa or therapist to see about an appointment — and we could all probably use about ten massages right now.
Tattoos and piercings are still not permitted to happen outdoors, due to increased needs for sanitation of equipment.
Photo: Kris Atomic