By Dave Schwab | City News Service
Hair salons and barbershops are preparing to reopen across the county, though San Diego business owners say the requirements mean it will be nothing like a return to business as usual.
“It’s scary for me to reopen my business,” admitted hairstylist Cindy Jarrett, longtime owner of Gorgeous Salon at 3605 30th St. in North Park, which rents space to several independent hair stylists. “The people that rent from me could no longer pay me rent, so I was unable to pay my overhead.”
Jarrett, who noted her manicurist still cannot return to work and that one of her stylists decided to change occupations, described the terms under which she will be allowed to reopen as “pretty standard for every business.” In other words, strict.
“They want people to stay six feet apart and wear masks,” she said. “I’ll have to move my salon around to accommodate. We won’t be allowed to take walk-ins. By law these have to be followed.”
The salon owner said she has already spent $200 out-of-pocket for touchless thermometers, masks and hand sanitizer that she will need to reopen, which she thinks will be allowed sometime in early June.
“I will probably have a couple of stylists come back then,” she said. “But I may wait a couple weeks after that until I’m fully open.”
The county’s Health and Human Services Agency announced this week that hair salons and barbershops would be allowed to reopen, but must implement numerous safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Employees will have to complete a health screening at the beginning and end of each shift, and both stylists and customers must wear facial coverings for the duration of the hair appointment.
Certain services frequently offered in hair salons are not yet allowed, including eyelash and eyebrow services, facials and shaves.
In-person religious services were also given the green light to resume, with restrictions to attendance and guidance against activities that may increase virus transmission, such as singing.
The state has not yet permitted nail salons and gyms to reopen. Though those businesses are expected to follow suit in re-emerging soon, some fitness operators feel they were unjustly deemed non-essential.
“As much as we understand and approve of the need for caution with this devastating COVID situation, we in the fitness industry are more than a little bit frustrated with the delay in being able to safely open our doors again,” said Brian J. Curry of Fitness West at 1880 Garnet Ave. in Pacific Beach.
“Today you can have a picnic at the park, walk on the beach, surf, get a haircut, have a beer and French fries at the local bar, and soon go to church, yet you can’t go to the gym and workout and stay healthy,” he said.
“Many of us feel our facilities may be one of the safest of all the so-called ‘non-essential’ businesses,” Curry added. “We also feel that health and fitness is essential. We will practice social distancing and full-time disinfecting. Members will wear masks and wipe down and disinfect any and all equipment after use.”
Once he reopens, Curry noted his class sizes will be limited and employees won’t be allowed to work if they feel ill.
“Their temperatures will be taken before working with all readings logged and recorded,” he said. “So let us open up. We’re ready.”
24 Hour Fitness has 13 facilities scattered throughout San Diego. A spokesperson for the company “has never wavered in its conviction that our top priority is always the health and safety of club members, team members and guests.”
“The COVID-19 environment has put physical and mental health at the forefront of everyone’s well being … Since 24 Hour Fitness made the difficult decision to close all our clubs nationwide on March 16, we have been carefully planning for the eventual reopening of some of our clubs as state and local governments and public health agencies indicate it is safe to do so,” the spokesperson said. “As we prepare for that moment, we are reimagining the club experience.”
The new 24 Hour club experience will include: touch-free check-in through the free 24GO personalized fitness app; social distancing with signage and spacing indicators; exterior and interior signage reminding members of safety protocols; personal training and studio classes meeting in select areas where social distancing can be observed; and clubs open initially for 60-minute sessions followed by 30-minute closures for club cleaning between sessions.
Brett Murphy, owner of La Jolla Sports Club at 7825 Fay Ave., thinks he’ll be allowed to reopen by June 15. He expects a slew of new required operating conditions.
“I anticipate temperature checks, mass mask-wearing, six-foot distancing,” he said, adding, “We may have to go to a reservation model.”
Murphy would prefer to get the new operating regulations sooner rather than later.
“I would like to see the guidelines now so I can prepare so that when they say gyms can open, we’ll be ready,” he said.
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