Help Barbershops & Salons Open Sooner, Smarter & Safer - California
Dear Governor Newsom and local authorities throughout California:
We, the professionals and customers of the barber and cosmetology industry, are requesting a modification to the 4-Stage plan to reopen California. While we agree with the intent to control a potential spike of Covid-19, we believe the outcome of this plan will not match those intentions -and possibly, cause more harm to the physical and financial health of our communities.
Our goal is to provoke dialogue and be an ally of the governorship, the people of California, and the best possible result.
Here are some factors we would like you to consider:
1) Equal Measure of Risk: Placing shops alongside movie theaters and gyms is not an equal measure of risk. As a service business, we can analyze and control the flow of individual clients better than retail or entertainment venues. The close interaction during service can be safely managed and limited to only 1 person, with all other interactions adhering to social distance protocol, and less surfaces being touched by multiple people.
2) Safety Protocols: The barber-cosmo industry is no stranger to regulation and sanitary measures that have been in place long before this pandemic. All equipment is sanitized, per use, with commercial-grade disinfectants, or disposed of. Used items are kept in separate, labeled areas avoiding cross-contamination.
3) Essential Business: Personal care is an essential business for mental health, not just vanity. Even limited services can help people feel a little better, lowering anxiety and stress, and boosting immune systems. It will help people maintain a foundation of optimism and self-worth, in line with your Stage 2 plans to open more public spaces, as an instrument for physical and mental well-being.
4) Vacant Real Estate: Service businesses are the heart of commercial leasing and the economy right now. The food & beverage industry was already slowing. Retail has been declining for years. If service businesses are kept closed, many will not reopen, and commercial real estate will face a greater vacancy crisis.
5) Human Behavior and Motivation: The fear of financial uncertainty and the need for community will soon outweigh the fear of illness, and lead to people to disregard any responsibility of controlling the spread. We must consider the stress-based changes in human behavior and decision making over time. As anxiety builds, people will feel forced to provide (and clients will demand) unregulated services or house calls, and the risk of a Covid surge could be worse than if shops are opened under controlled guidelines.
With unsubstantiated claims of a salon being the start of the outbreak in California, it is giving those, who downplay the risk or danger of Covid-19, to have a bigger voice and gain further support. We need logical discussions and civil discourse, not broad headlines of control.
The employees and customers of the personal care industry cannot sit in this uncertainty for an undetermined number of “months” until an unclear Stage 3 comes. Community, activity, and purpose are crucial for human sanity and health. Small businesses, livelihoods and long-term unemployment is at stake. Smaller, more frequent steps forward will help people manage fears and take smarter actions. There needs to be a progression towards reopening in more detail than, “stage 3 is months away”. These generalities will cause a wider spread of interpretation and response, including dangerous, public protesting.
While we completely agree with your priority of protecting those at high-risk and preventing a surge in our hospitals, I would like to propose an option to modify your 4-stage plan to improve the likelihood of that outcome.
STAGE 2: As planned to begin in early May.
STAGE 2b: To begin by the end of May. Barbershops and Salons to open under a category of “controlled risk” and following mandates:
- Estimated period of 2-3 weeks
- Maximum occupancy of 15
- Service stations/chairs must be at least 5 feet apart (center to center) if customers face parallel or away from each other. 6 feet between stations if clients are facing one another.
- Customers waiting must have 6 feet of social distance, whether inside or outside
- Must offer touchless payment, app-based, or prepayment options
- Staff must wear masks and eye protection and change gloves per customer.
- Customers to sign symptom and liability/risk acknowledge waiver. Recommended not to have clients over the age of 60 or with existing, high-risk conditions such as diabetes and respiratory issues.
- Single-use capes for customers
- Customers to wear masks and only adjusted for services around ears, and cheeks.
- No face shaves or services around the mouth and nose that would require the mask to be completely removed.
- Business to maintain records of all appointments
STAGE 3: The begin by mid-late June: If Covid curve remains stabilized… Same as Stage 2b, with the following changes:
- Maximum occupancy of 25
- Beard trims and other small, short-term facial services allowed that can be accomplished with the moving or removal of customer masks for less than 5 minutes.
STAGE 3b: By July
- All Services around nose and mouth allowed. Open to all clients.
- Full occupancy allowed
- Masks recommended/required and social distancing required/recommended based on status of Covid at the time.
STAGE 4: By August: Return to normal operations based on Covid status at the time
We would be happy to have a conversation with you or any member of your staff regarding this matter. Again, our goal is to provoke dialogue and be an ally of the governorship, the people of California, and the best possible result.
If you have any questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those who support this cause, please send this letter to the Governor and all of your local officials.