A week after salons and barbershops were forced to close down again across most of California, those businesses are getting permission to operate outdoors.
Gov. Gavin Newsom halted indoor operations for a slew of businesses on July 13 as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations reached record levels in some parts of the state.
Indoor restaurants, wineries and movie theaters were closed statewide while other spaces including salons, gyms, churches and offices were shuttered in more than 30 counties being monitored for elevated infection rates or strained hospital capacity.
As some industries shifted toward conducting business outside, barbershops and other personal care services hit a roadblock: state regulations prohibit outdoor operations when certain chemicals are involved.
Newsom said Monday those rules have been lifted, allowing haircuts, manicures and other services to resume outdoors. However, tattoos, piercings and electrology — hair removal using electricity — will not be allowed to take place outside.
But moving outdoors won’t be so simple, said salon owner Jill Cromwell, who owns Maribou Salon, which has three locations in Folsom.
“We need to get creative,” Cromwell said. “We want to do whatever it takes to work.”
Her company is looking into building “an entirely new salon” outdoors, complete with electricity and plumbing. “We don’t know how much to spend because we don’t know how long this is going to last for. Is it two weeks? Is it two years? It’s been a roller coaster,” she said.
Still, Cromwell believes it would be safer and more sanitary to operate inside. After a customer called a few days after an appointment to say that she had tested positive for COVID-19, Cromwell said the hairstylist quarantined and got a coronavirus test, which came back negative.
“I do believe we can stay healthy if we’re vigilant,” she said.
Newsom denies being asked to thank Trump
Newsom denied a New York Times report published over the weekend which claimed that in exchange for hundreds of thousands of new test kits, the governor was told to call President Trump himself to make the request and to publicly thank the president.
“It’s not true,” Newsom said. “No one asked me that. There may have been a conversation, but it never came to me. Anybody that’s willing to help this state, I’m going to acknowledge that help.”
In an April 22 press conference, Newsom said the state would receive at least 100,000 test swabs — which were then in short supply — from the federal government. The next day, he announced 90,000 were on the way and praised Trump.
“Promise made, promise kept,” he said — a line which was almost immediately put in a Trump campaign ad.
Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations appearing to steady
After reaching new highs in recent weeks, California’s COVID-19 numbers appeared to slow down Monday.
The 14-day average for the number of total tests which come back positive — also called the test-positivity rate — held steady at 7.4%, which is the same number it was a week ago. The seven-day average fell from 7.7% last week to 7.2%.
“No one is satisfied being north of 7%,” Newsom said. “These numbers can change very fast.”
The 14-day average for hospitalizations rose 16% over the past week, a markedly slower pace than in previous weeks. In early July, hospitalizations spiked 50% over a two-week period.
“That’s an encouraging sign,” the governor said. “But we want to see a decline. Not a reduction in the rate of growth.”
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