Restaurants, barbershops react to latest reopening guidelines

Co-Owner and Executive Chef Daniel Otto places items in bags to be picked for a party of seventeen at Old Town Junction in Newhall. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Under the county’s latest guidelines, getting a haircut and eating at a restaurant could appear as such: waiting in your vehicle to be seated at an eatery and receiving your food and haircut by workers in face coverings. 

These are some of the safety measures businesses in the food and grooming sectors must have in place upon reopening and directives customers must also adhere to during their outings amid a more relaxed but ongoing “Safer at Home” order. 

The guidelines, released by Los Angeles County, come after officials announced Friday the state approved the county’s variance to reopen at its own pace, rather than follow California’s own roadmap toward resuming its economy. The move marked a green light for dine-in services to resume and for barbershops and hair salons to reopen. 

While many more businesses have received clearance to continue services, bars, nail salons, spas, fitness centers, beach piers, museums and zoos, entertainment venues such as movie theaters, bowling alleys and theme parks remain closed. 

Upon hearing the news, some Santa Clarita Valley restaurants said they planned to meet Friday to discuss finally implementing a plan they had been creating for a safe reopening after reducing their workforce and services down to curbside and takeout. Among them was sit-down restaurant Old Town Junction in Newhall. 

“We’re super excited. We’re meeting this afternoon so we can sit down and start that plan that we have been planning for a long time. We won’t open until we have all (safety measures) in place. It won’t be today or tomorrow but soon so that we can rehire our people and open our doors to the community,” General Manager Mandy Meeks said Friday. 

Hair salons and barbershops also welcomed the latest directives as many have voiced concerns about unfairness in having to wait until the third phase in the state’s reopening timeline since those in the industry already must adhere to stringent health and safety regulations, such as sanitizing and sterilizing equipment. And while excited, the guidelines weren’t all too welcomed by at least one local business. 

“We’re excited to hear we can open but if you look at some of the measures, it’s really ridiculous for a business that’s been open for 50 years. If you’ve been cutting for 30 years without gloves or a face shield, it’s hard to get used to that,” said Anita Ruiz, who’s been cutting hair and beards since 1990 at Canyon Country Barbershop, the longest-running men’s establishment in the eastern area of the SCV. 

On Friday, the county issued a list of guidelines for both workers and customers alike: 

Barbershops and hair salons

  • Physical distancing measures will be in place, as well as contactless payment options. 
  • Employees and clients will be screened for symptoms such as coughing and fever. 
  • Everyone must wear face coverings. 
  • Magazines, coffee and other amenities will not be offered. 

In-person dining 

  • Physical distancing measures will resume as seen during takeout and reservations will be encouraged. 
  • Customers will be asked to wait for a table in their cars or outside restaurants. 
  • Diners must wear face coverings when not eating and all will be screened for symptoms. 
  • Bar areas will be closed. 

For the detailed protocol visit: publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/coronavirus.

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