Gov. Gavin Newsom briefs the press. Courtesy of the governor’s office

In an announcement that will delight many California residents, Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday cleared the way for barbershops and hair salons to open in 47 counties, including San Diego County.

San Diego is one of 47 counties in the state that have been granted “regional variances” needed to open more types of businesses. The variances are based on criteria such as the rate coronavirus infections and deaths and availability of testing and contact-tracing.

The variances allow counties to move deeper into Stage 2 of the state’s reopening roadmap, most notably allowing the resumption of limited dine-in service at restaurants and in-person shopping at retail establishments.

“Along those lines, they will be able to add in barber shops and hair salons to those regional variations starting today,” Newsom said, adding that the businesses will have to operate with substantial safety modifications.

Those modifications include both the worker and customer wearing face coverings for the entirety of the service. And services that cannot be performed with face coverings, or that require touching the customer’s face, remain suspended. These include eyelash services, eyebrow waxing and threading, facials and shaves.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said that San Diego County would additionally require barbershops and salons to post a safe reopening plan and provide clean face coverings for customers who do not bring their own.

“Fill out your safe reopening plan, follow the guidelines, and you are clear to reopen,” he said after the governor’s announcement.

Newsom warned that as more businesses reopen, the danger of COVID-19 spreading will be heightened.

“We’re moving forward. We’re not looking back, but we are walking into the unknown, the untested, literally and figuratively,” he said. “And we have to be guided by the data that brought us to this place in the first place, that is, guided by these principles of openness and transparency, principles where all of us are required to do a little bit more and little bit better to make sure we’re (preventing) the spread of this virus as we meaningfully reopen the economy of the state.”

The reopening of hair salons and barbershops marks continued movement into Stage 3 of the state’s reopening plan. Other types of businesses in Stage 3, such as nail salons and fitness gyms, still have not been cleared to reopen.

Newsom acknowledged the demand for hair salons to reopen, with many residents sporting long hair due to the unavailability of the services. He noted that his children cut his hair over the weekend, and he posted a photo on Twitter of himself getting the cut.

The governor said guidance will be released Wednesday for businesses such as summer camps and child care facilities. Guidelines for film and television production had been expected to be released on Monday, but Newsom said the state is still working with industry officials and unions to finalize those plans.

Updated at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26, 2020

— From Staff and Wire Reports

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