Gov. Gavin Newsom allows reopening outdoor hair salons, nail salons amid coronavirus pandemic

Hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, massage parlors and other beauty services in counties on the state's watch list are now allowed to move those services outdoors.

ByStephanie Sierra, Kate Larsen, and Melanie Woodrow, Alix Martichoux KGO logo
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom allows reopening outdoor hair salons, nail salons amid coronavirus pandemic
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a press conference Monday that some businesses in the personal care industry, such as hair salons and nail salons, will be allowed to operate in some capacity outdoors.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a change in the rules for hair salons and other beauty services in a Monday press conference on the coronavirus pandemic.

VIDEO: Newsom allows some salon operations to move outdoors

Gov. Newsom announced some businesses in the personal care industry, such as hair salons and nail salons, will be allowed to operate in some capacity outdoors.

WATCH LIST: Counties where COVID-19 is getting worse

While hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, massage parlors and other beauty services have to close indoor operations in counties on the state's watch list, they're now allowed to move some services outdoors.

The guidelines for outdoor hair salons and barbershops include:

  • Employees and customers have to wear masks the entire time
  • Create an outdoor reception area where guests can check in
  • No handshakes, hugs or similar greetings

Nail salons can offer manicures and pedicures outside. Other services like massages, body waxing and threading are also now allowed outdoors. Electrolysis, tattooing and piercings are not allowed outside because they have to be done in an indoor controlled environment.

Personal care services have to follow the above guidelines, as well as:

  • Workers should wear a face shield with a face covering when doing services on the face/neck that don't allow clients to wear a mask
  • Disposable gloves should be worn during the entire service
  • Use single-use applicators instead of reusable ones (where necessary)
  • Ask manicure clients to use hand sanitizer first
  • Allow only one manicurist to work at a single station
  • Offer color palettes instead of nail polish color displays

Services can be done under a tent or sun shade, as long as no more than one side is open to allow maximum outdoor air flow.

The governor said new guidelines have been in the works for some time, but it was more complex than other outdoor business operations because of the use of chemicals in some beauty services.

Delane Sims, owner of Delane's Natural Nail Care, was standing by as Newsom clarified which personal care services can be performed outdoors.

"Certainly we know that COVID-19 has ravaged the nation but it certainly has devastated our industry," said Sims. "I will be delighted, we have clients who have been waiting since March to get their nails done and some have claimed that they're ready to climb trees."

"When I heard that we could reopen, I cried, I just bawled. I was so excited and it felt like such a relief. We've been closed for such a long time," said Angelina Umansky, the owner of Spa Radiance in San Francisco.

Umansky plans to set up a full menu of outdoor facials, and even waxing, on two balconies in the back of her salon.

"We're gonna have beautiful green plants everywhere, we're gonna have screens, so it's gonna be private for sure.... We have heating blankets, heating mitts, we have heaters," said Umansky, who thinks outdoor facials will become very popular. "The only thing that could stop us is rain."

But not every beauty business is created equal.

RELATED: Santa Clara County gyms, salons, tattoo parlors forced to close after recently reopening

"It sounds difficult. Not all salons have outside space," said hair stylist, Vee Vargas, who says the outdoors is very limiting when it comes to hair. "It honestly seems like maybe we could do a quick hair cut service, with no shampooing, no blow drying."

There's also the weather - cold and windy in San Francisco and hot in other parts of Bay Area and Southern California, where Vargas also works.

VIDEO: Newsom allows salon operations to move outdoors amid COVID-19 crisis

"We are already mandated by the state to follow some very stringent guidelines when it comes to safety," says nail salon owner Sims.

"To stand in one space for two hours under that heat, it doesn't seem like it would be good," she said.

The new rules may be one size fits all, but as ABC7 news contributor and San Francisco Chronicle insider, Phil Matier, explains, some regions may benefit from outdoor salons more than others. "Other places have things called parking lots, they have wide open spaces. It's a different world."

Matier also pointed out that small businesses have to decide if adapting to even more rules and regulations is worth it. "Starting up and then stopping and then starting up again, costs money."

Full guidelines for hair salons and barbershops can be found here. Full guidelines for nail salons and other personal care services can be found here.

As of Monday, 33 of California's 58 counties are on the COVID-19 watch list. That represents 91% of the state's population, an estimated 36 million people.

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"If you reside in these counties, we only enforce and underscore the urgency of modifying our activities to help us mitigate the spread," Gov. Newsom said.

San Francisco was added to the list on Friday, Mayor London Breed announced.

Newsom also announced new guidelines Friday to determine which school districts are allowed to reopen classrooms in the fall.

In order to resume in-person class instruction, a county must have been off the state's COVID-19 watch list for 14 consecutive days.

Districts in counties on the watch list will only be able to do distance learning. Until now, decisions on how and when to reopen have largely been left up to individual school districts.

RELATED: Everything to know about California's confusing coronavirus reopening plan, summer shutdown and what comes next

The state's former guidelines for reopening schools recommended mask wearing for students, but now face coverings will be required for students in third grade and older. Face coverings are recommended but not required for kindergarten, first graders and second graders.

Masks will be required for all teachers and staff. Staff will also be required to get tested for the virus regularly.

The governor also announced new rules on when schools will be forced to close back down:

  • A classroom cohort has to go home when there is a confirmed COVID-19 cases.
  • The school also has to close when multiple cohorts have cases or if 5% of all teachers and students test positive.
  • An entire school district must close when 25% of its schools close within a 14-day period.

"Schools must provide meaningful instruction during this pandemic whether they're physically open or not," Newsom said. "We all prefer in-classroom instruction for all the obvious reasons, but only if it can be done safely."

Even for schools that only do online, distance learning, Newsom said the state will be making sure there are "rigorous" standards.

"If we're going to have distance learning, we will make sure that it's real, that we address the divide and it is quality," the governor said. "Learning is non-negotiable."

VIDEO: 'We're back to square one': Gyms, nail and hair salons forced to close 48-hrs after reopening in Santa Clara Co.

On the same day gyms, and nail and hair salons were able to reopen to customers across Santa Clara County, those small business owners got the news, they'd once again have to close.

Newsom said the new guidelines apply to K-12 education in the state. He added he is working with California's universities to agree on health and safety guidelines that should be released in the coming weeks.

VIDEO: California's COVID-19 status, testing delays

"What's also growing, is the wait times for testing," said Dr. Ghaly Monday.

Newsom announced Monday that the state is continuing to see a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, though at a rate that's less alarming than just a few weeks ago.

There is also a major concern with turnaround time for non-priority tests, which can take up to 14 days, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.

"What's also growing, is the wait times for testing," said Dr. Ghaly. "It's quite long."

California's coronavirus testing task force is changing its distributing process to bring down the turnaround time.

Many businesses are still unable to reopen in the state. The problem has gotten so bad, Gov. Newsom recently announced mandatory rollbacks of the state's reopening plan.

Bars, both indoor and outdoor, have been ordered to close down statewide. Restaurants are being told to cease indoor operations. Outdoor dining and takeout are still allowed.

VIDEO: Temperature checks and big smiles as Contra Costa County hair salons reopen

Hair salons are now allowed to open in Contra Costa County, although they look different than they did before the shutdown.

All counties also have to close indoor operations at wineries, tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and cardrooms.

In counties on the state's watch list, even more businesses are being required to close their doors. That includes gyms; indoor hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and other personal care services; indoor malls; offices in non-critical sectors and indoor places of worship.

Find out what that means for the Bay Area here.

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