Reopening California: Hair salons can open, funerals allowed in Contra Costa County

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Contra Costa County is easing shelter-in-place restrictions, even as the County Health Department posts increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Hair salons and barbershops are all currently closed along San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito. But on Wednesday morning, a new health order allows the businesses to reopen throughout Contra Costa County.

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Swimmers will be allowed back in the pool, as long as they follow state guidelines and limit the number of swimmers to 1 person per 75 square feet.

The county has also given the go-ahead for larger religious gatherings. As many as 100 people will be allowed to attend a funeral or other service at an indoor place of worship.

"I'm elated because we have been waiting patiently," said Wyndford Williams, the pastor at All Nations Church of God in Christ in Richmond.

On Easter, he was actually cited for violating the shelter-in-place order, when about 40 people showed up to the small neighborhood church.

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"It could be $100-$1000 and probably jail time." Williams says nothing has come of the citation yet, but ever since he has not allowed more than 10 people into the church at a time. On Wednesday, he expects 60 to 90 people.

"People will have to sit every other seat or every third seat and the families can sit together with masks."

Williams says allowing larger memorials is important. "I've had several funerals during the pandemic and it's been very difficult for the families and so it will be a welcome relief when they're able to gather in more numbers."

"It's good to have world open back up and become somewhat normal again," said Kevin Briggs, a parishioner, who says no matter what, they will make time and room for church. "Whether it's 10, whether it's 100, whether it's 5 of us, we're going to praise the Lord like we normally do."

Depending on what the data says, the County Health Department could decide to adjust the reopening timeline.

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