SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced further modifications to the state’s current shelter order Tuesday with barbershops and hair salons being allowed to reopen under specific guidelines for the first time in over two months.
The announcement on Tuesday marks the state’s first move into expanded Stage 3 reopening involving higher-risk workplaces beginning with limited personal care and recreational venues.
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The governor opened his comments with remarks about how he was happy to see California residents enjoying themselves during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but that people needed to keep their guard and awareness about the continuing deadly pandemic up.
Newsom noted that the nation was approaching the grim milestone of 100,000 lives lost in the U.S. and said that, while California has fared better than some places, the state has had over 3,800 fatal cases of coronavirus with 19 new deaths in the past 24 hours.
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“It’s just a reminder to everybody that we are not even out of the first wave of this pandemic. People are talking about the second wave. That is many, many months off. The reality is that this pandemic has just begun, hasn’t ended,” Newsom said. “And while we are moving forward because of stabilization, because of the good work that’s been done by health officials all across this nation, all across the state of California, specifically to suppress the spread of this virus, by no stretch of the imagination is this virus behind us.”
“We still have a long way to go to get to where we need to be, which is to immunity and a vaccine,” Newsom added.
The governor emphasized the high risk to the disease that the state’s residents over age 65 or with compromised health face and reiterated that people in those categories should remain at home as much as possible through Stage 4 of the state’s response.
Newsom said that the state was moving forward with new modifications announced over the weekend allowing for customers to enter retail establishments and providing guidelines for houses of worship to reopen with at 25 percent capacity or 100 people.
Starting Tuesday, the governor said that regions that had progressed with attestations into expanded Stage 2 reopening would be allowed to reopen barbershops and salons. The state has posted information and guidelines on how those businesses should proceed.
Newsom said that 47 of the state’s 58 counties have progressed to the more advance portion of Stage 2 reopening and would be eligible for the next step..
“We’re making progress, we’re moving forward, we’re not looking back but we are walking into the unknown, the untested, literally and figuratively. And we have to be guided by the data that brought us to this place in the first place, and that is guided by these principles of openness and transparency, principles where all of us are required to do a little bit more and a little bit better to make sure we’re protecting against the spread of this virus, particularly again, as we meaningfully reopen the economy and the state,” Newsom said.
While the northern counties of the Bay Area including Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties have moved forward with the attestation required to reopen hair salons and barbershops, the central and southern parts of the region have yet to make that progress.
Sonoma County health officials announced later Tuesday that the region would not be reopening hair salons and barbershops quite yet due to a recent spike in coronavirus cases.
The new health and safety guidelines include the use of face coverings by all staff and customers, the removal of frequently touched items like magazines, frequent disinfection and sanitization and staggered appointments to maintain physical distancing and reduce crowds.
The Governor also said that the state would soon be providing additional guidance for the reopening of summer camps, child-care facilities and schools on Wednesday. Newsom explained that state officials had been working with the television and film industry to set up guidelines and would be issuing new instructions for that sector to reopen later in the week.
Guidelines for nail salons and other personal services were still in the works, but would require more specifics in order to satisfy health officials, Newsom explained.
Newsom noted that as the state moves into Stage 3 of reopening, more accountability will come from the counties and their public health departments.
The governor reiterated that some counties will be able to move ahead with additional reopenings before others and the state was ready to accommodate the regional variances.
“Some parts of the state will not be able to pace as quickly into Phase 3 and we continue to be responsive to those concerns and the needs of those local communities to slow down the pace of reopening, and we respect that and will certainly honor that,” said Newsom. “Others are ready to move a little bit more quickly, and we’ll respect that and honor that as well.”
Newsom also said that the return of events such as professional sports and major concerts involving larger numbers of people would still not come until a later date.
“Again, Phase 4 is about concerts, it’s about large festivals, it’s about conventions. We are not there yet. That’s about fans in stadiums. We are not there yet. And the state will hold the line in terms of those larger venues,” Newsom said.
Salon owner Arthur Sebastian was already coming up with ways to implement physical distancing and other measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 at his business in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow Tuesday afternoon.
“I think we should all be prepared. We have to take this very serious. I think we’re going to implement face shields and implement thermometers for our stylists,” he told KPIX 5.
Face masks won’t just be for trips to the grocery store. They are just one requirement listed among 10 pages of regulations salon owners and stylists must comply with.
“I also wanted to keep the mask on because this is the way it’s gonna be. Stylists, the operators in the salon, we’re all gonna be wearing masks. The clients are all going to have to be wearing masks and it’s going to be a little bit of a different experience,” said Paul Strom, the owner of Paul Strom Salon in Pacifica.
Strom said customers should feel at ease, because cleaning was already part of the game.
“Salons are kind of uniquely equipped in terms of businesses to do deal with sanitation and sterilization because we regularly do that anyway. We are required to do that by the state,” said Strom.
In response to a reporter’s question, Newsom said he was not concerned at all about any potential legal clash with the federal government taking a more assertive stance over California restrictions.
“I don’t lose sleep over that. Maybe it’s the fact that this is California, we’re involved in over 70 lawsuits with the administration, predates my time as governor, many of those lawsuits. So, none of this surprises me at all, it doesn’t surprise you, I imagine. Again, we’re entering into a political season, and so I can only anticipate we’ll see more,” said Newsom. “But again, we’re working very collaboratively, not only regionally but with the federal government on things that really matter. Some of these other things, to me, is just noise.”
The governor said the state’s coronavirus case numbers continue to improve. Over the last 14 days, California has seen a 6.7 percent decline in hospitalizations and only 0.6 percent increase in the number of ICU patients.
The state’s testing has continued to progress with approaching 1.7 million tests administered and the goal of over 50,000 tests being given per day getting met.
Andria Borba contributed to this story.