California hair and nail salons are allowed to operate outside: governor

After some confusion and frustration in the personal care services industry, Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday that salons, barbershops and nail salons can now operate outside

Newsom said such plans have been in the works for some time, but figuring out the logistics was more complex than other outdoor business operations because of the use of chemicals in some beauty services, like perms.

The state released new guidelines Monday that allow outdoor operations for esthetic, skincare, cosmetology, nail services, and massage therapy services. The state said outdoor operations can be performed under a tent or canopy outside of a licensed establishment in areas like parking lots and sidewalks.

Salon owners want to set up shop outside as COVID-19 keeps doors closed

Electrology, tattooing, and piercing services are still not allowed outdoors. The state considers those services as invasive procedures that require a controlled hygienic environment. All chemical services and shampooing are off limits.

Delane’s Natural Nail Care is San Leandro was ready to go following the state’s announcement. The nail salon has all sanitization procedures in place with portable stations set up for social distancing.

“We are ecstatic,” owner Delane Sims said. “This is a very big day for our industry to know that we can start to take these steps towards hopefully reopening fully. We are grateful to at least be able to service our clients. Now we just have to figure out the logistics.”

The changes come one week after salons in Santa Clara County reopened and shut down again. Denise Russell, owner of Special FX Salon & Day Spa in San Jose, said they welcome the opportunity to work outdoors. Russell has three outdoor tents on order.

“Now we're going to have to spend thousands of dollars to get set up outside, but what choice do we have,” Russell said. “I'm not willing to close my business down. We have to learn to coexist with this virus and do it safely.”

The Professional Beauty Federation of California and a state assemblyman from Fresno had asked Newsom to waive a state regulation in order to allow stylists and barbers to operate outside.

The announcement on outdoor personal care services came as Newsom reported that infections, hospitalizations and intensive care cases continued increasing but at a slower rate after the state scaled back reopening earlier this month. 

The guidelines for outdoor personal care are here. 

This story was reported in Oakland, Calif.