California hair and nail salons can operate outside under new guidance released by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office Monday afternoon, allowing many to do business as the coronavirus outbreak continues.
The guidelines say “outdoor operations may be conducted under a tent, canopy, or other sun shelter as long as no more than one side is closed, allowing sufficient outdoor air movement.”
The modification allows salons and barbershops to serve customers while complying with an emergency order Newsom handed down last week closing down indoor operations for many businesses due to rising COVID-19 numbers.
Salons and barbershops were unable to relocate outside due to a provision of the California Business and Professions Code that states barbering, cosmetology and electrology services must be conducted inside a licensed establishment.
Facing the prospect of shutting down, several hair salon owners called on Newsom to issue a waiver that would allow them to do business outdoors.
One of those salon owners, Jessie Santiago of Salon Benders in Long Beach, said she was thankful that Newsom changed course.
“My plan, going forward, is to hopefully create a space for all the hair stylists in the community,” she said.
She said that there are many issues with operating outdoors, such as finding a source of water and disposing of hair chemicals, that salon owners may not be able to figure out.
“To me, it doesn’t feel like a perfect solution,” she said.
Fred Jones, lobbyist with the Professional Beauty Federation of California, said he was glad to hear “that the governor showed us the same respect he showed some other industries.” He said many salon owners “are desperate” to cut hair outdoors.
But he added that, “with all the wind and the heat and the dust,” many of his association’s members would choose not to operate outdoors. “The signal we’re looking forward to is (Newsom) opening up our salons,” he said.
Ashley Jaye, owner of Ashley Jaye’s Beauty Bar on Elkhorn Boulevard in Sacramento, is among those who plans to watch from the sidelines.
“That would be hard, to go outdoors,” she said. “That could be germy, the wind might be blowing.”
She added that she’d be reluctant to have an elderly customer sit outdoors for service.
“We’re in Sacramento; it’s 100 degrees outside,” she said.
Crystal Young, owner of Vintage Rose Salon & Spa in Auburn, was excited to hear the governor’s decision. “It’s a good opportunity for us to make what we can from it,” she said.
But it won’t be business as usual. She said Vintage Rose probably has room outside for three chairs, instead of the usual eight, and the hot weather would limit operations to a few hours in the morning. She’s also struggling with the logistics of moving chairs outdoors as well as cabinets for supplies.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, who had sent a letter to Newsom urging him to issue a waiver, said the clarification presents a temporary opportunity for some barbershops and hair salons. Many businesses will close never to reopen, he said.
“This is a Band-Aid approach. This is not a sustainable solution,” he said.
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