Reopening California: Hair, nail salons now allowed to operate outdoors in Alameda County

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Robert Marsella of Oakland hasn't had a haircut since February. It's not a look he has been proud of.

"I rarely wear hats except for the past six or seven months," Marsella said.

He was one of the first customers Friday morning at the Temescal Ally Barber Shop in Oakland. The shop opened for the first time since March now that Alameda County's health order allows outdoor haircuts. It's a day even the mayor has been waiting for.

"I have an appointment next week to get this Rapunzel hair trimmed a bit," said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. "I am so glad my independent, woman owned salon will be doing haircuts safely outside."

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Not all salons have the space to push business outside. The City of Oakland is trying to help accommodate that with flexible permits.

"Some areas, for example like Rockridge, and more and more everyday, have applied for full or partial street closure," Mayor Schaaf said.

The Temescal Ally Barber Shop is located in a wide ally at 49th and Telegraph Avenue that doesn't allow cars. The owner has room to cut hair outside.

"We are able to build right off of the shop," said owner Brad Roberts. "We are super fortunate for that. I know so many other salons and barber shops don't have that luxury."


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Although he is grateful, it has still been a lot of work -- expensive work, he says. He thinks he has spent thousands of dollars building his outdoor covered porch like platform.

He also bought new chairs.

His traditional barber shop chair weigh about 300 pounds and couldn't be moved outdoors.

He is also making half the money. He has room inside for six chairs, but outside, he has three.

Still, he is excited to be open.

RELATED: San Francisco nail, hair salons can reopen for outdoor services Tuesday, Mayor London Breed says

"It was very challenging when all the counties around us were opening up and we weren't allowed to," he said. "That was very hard to deal with. It's like you want to do the right thing but it's like wait a second. COVID doesn't stop at county lines."

But he and his other stylists are enjoying the fun payoff of watching and creating dramatic makeovers. Marsella had seven inches of hair cut off Friday.

"I'm very happy," he said. "It feels great. Nice to feel a little air back on the head."

County health officials decided it was safe to allow hair and nail salons to reopen outdoors because it is a low risk activity and the number of coronavirus cases have stabilized.

Tattoos, ear piercings and eyebrow treatments are still not permitted.



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