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Hair salons, barbershops allowed to reopen under modified health order

Stylists Jared Smith, center, and Emily Clemmons wear masks, face shields and gloves and are separted by a vinyl curtain as they work on customers wearin masks at N' Style Salon in Santa Clarita on Friday, June 26, 20. Dan Watson/The Signal

Los Angeles County officials announced Wednesday hair salons and barbershops could immediately resume indoor operations at 25% capacity.

This comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday a new, color-coded tiered blueprint for reopening, where counties are assigned colors based on case and positivity rates, which ultimately determine how businesses can operate.

Under the state’s new metrics, L.A. County joins 37 other counties in Tier 1 (purple), which indicates a county with a “widespread” virus outbreak, having more than seven daily new diagnoses per 100,000 residents or more than 8% test positivity rate.

As last reported by Public Health officials, L.A. County has a daily average case rate of 10 new cases per 100,000 residents and a 5% test positivity rate.

“The longer our county’s seven-day average case rate remains above seven as determined by the state, the longer we will remain in the state’s most restrictive tier,” county Public Health Officer Muntu Davis said.

Modifications to the health order are expected to be released for details into safety protocols that must be implemented ahead of reopening, according to county officials.

These protocols include: 

  • Ensuring face coverings are worn by both customers and employees throughout their entire visit.
  • Requiring reservations for every customer.
  • Limiting customers to only receive one service at a time. 
  • Screening employees and customers for symptoms.
  • Requiring physical distancing measures to be in place.
  • Removing magazines, coffee and other amenities.
  • Using contactless payment systems when possible.

County officials continued to encourage businesses to utilize outdoor operations when possible, offering indoor operations only for services that cannot be provided outdoors.

For hairstylist Reese, who asked that her last name be omitted, the announcement is only a small step in the right direction, she said. 

“I’ve had clients coming to my house just to make ends meet, and I know plenty of other stylists who’ve been doing the same right here in Santa Clarita,” she said. “It’s illegal, and I could lose my license, but I had a choice to make: lose my license or put food on the table for my kids.” 

Her salon was one of many that chose not to operate outdoors, as much of the services they offer cannot be done outdoors, so with new guidelines limiting the salon’s capacity at 25%, it’ll be challenging, she said.

“There will be competition between stylists to get their clients into the salon, for sure,” she said, adding that only being able to provide one service at a time is unreasonable. “I get why they’re saying that, but most clients want a cut and a color, not to have to come back later if they want both.” 

Even so, she’s looking forward to returning to the salon, for the sake of her license and for her customers. 

“I want my clients to feel safe, and I was doing everything by the book at home, but I want them to be comfortable going into the salon and knowing we’re doing things the right way,” she said. 

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