Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that hair salons and barbershops in 47 of California’s 58 counties that have gone through an attestation process with the State of California can now reopen. Santa Barbara County is among those counties.
According to the State’s COVID-19 industry guidance document for salons and barbershops, those that reopen will be limited to conducting only services that can be provided with both workers and patrons wearing face masks. These include services such as haircuts, weaves, color services, braiding, and extensions. Services that involve a stylist touching a client’s face such as eyelash services, eyebrow waxing, and facials are to be suspended until it is announced they can resume.
Additionally, the reopening guidelines encourage salons and barbershops to have customers wait for appointments outside or in their cars, rather than congregate inside a waiting area. It also recommends stylists not tend to multiple clients at once and stagger their appointments.
As the governor made this announcement on Tuesday afternoon, many Santa Barbara salons and barbershops had not reopened. Salon owners who spoke to the News-Press said they were in the process of reopening their businesses soon, including Alex’s Salon’s eponymous owner Alex Hill, who remarked that he was in the midst of training his staff on the salon’s procedures, such as social distancing and cleanliness. They also include giving disposable masks to clients who show up without them and having customers sanitize their hands upon entry.
Though one might expect that Gov. Newsom’s announcement would open the floodgates and lead to an inundation of phone calls requesting hair appointments, Mr. Hill said that this hadn’t been the case thus far as he planned to reopen. The salon owner chalked it up to two things: At-risk clients not being open to getting services, and that some people haven’t yet heard the news of salons reopening.
“I don’t think people are aware yet, honestly,” he said.
However, it has been exactly the opposite for Sequel Salon owner Fabian Hernandez. When he responded to the News-Press’ voicemail Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Hernandez said the reason he didn’t catch the first call was because his phone was ringing off the hook with more calls for appointments than he could answer. Having seen seven clients when speaking to the News-Press, he expected to see 10 by the end of the day. He called his first day back “a very successful day.”
Mr. Hernandez and all of his stylists began in earnest Wednesday and Sequel Salon’s six styling chairs will be reduced to four. Its receptionist will be outside with a tablet greeting customers, who will be required to await their appointments outside as per the State’s recommendations.
Mr. Hernandez said reopening his salon has rejuvenated him and made him feel younger than his 53 years.
“Instead of 53, I’m 35. I just flip the numbers,” he said.