Nail salons allowed to reopen in California, but final decision up to counties

Photo by Kris Atomic on Unsplash

NAIL salons in California will be allowed to open, regardless of the tier the county is in on the state’s reopening roadmap, according to State Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.

During the press briefing on Tuesday, September 22, the secretary said even with the state’s permission, it would be up to individual counties to have final say over the reopening of the nail salons.

“Looking at the operations of nail salons, understanding the number of steps that they can take to make a lower-risk environment for both staff and customers, with some new additions to that sector guidance and how to set up operations in a way that is lower risk, we believe that we’re able to add that to the number of sectors within the purple tier, or that widespread tier,’’ Ghaly said.

Nail salons will need to follow existing state guidance, such as using disposable supplies and removing nail polish displays, to create a lower risk environment that reduces the possibility of COVID-19 transmission and protects employees and customers, the department said.

The announcement comes two months after Governor Gavin Newsom gave nail and hair salons and barbershops the green light to move their operations outdoors after being ordered to close in early July. Hair salons and barbershops were allowed to move back indoors with certain precautions last month.

In August, Newsom unveiled a four-tier system in which counties must show consistency in slowing transmission before allowing certain businesses to reopen.

The purple tier, meaning the county risk level is widespread and with a positivity rate of more than 8%, says many non-essential indoor business operations must remain closed. Los Angeles County remains in this tier and has not announced whether it would allow nail salons to reopen, as of this writing.

The red tier (substantial) measures 4-7 daily new cases per 100,000 and a 5-8% positivity rate, and mandates certain non-essential indoor businesses to stay closed.

Meanwhile, the orange tier (moderate) allows for some indoor businesses to reopen with modifications if they post 1-3.9 daily new cases per 100,000 and have a positivity rate between 2 to 4.9%. The yellow tier (minimal) allows for most indoor businesses to open again if they have less than 1 daily new cases per 100,000 and less than 2% positive tests.

Counties have to meet the next tier’s requirements for two consecutive weeks before their status is moved. On the flip side, if cases rise during that same period, the county will descend to a more restrictive tier.

The counties that have moved to the red tier as of Tuesday are Alameda, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo and Solano. Meanwhile, moving to the orange are El Dorado, Lassen and Nevada counties, and in yellow, Mariposa County.

With flu season around the corner, the state Health Department and officials are urging residents to get vaccinated.

“We could potentially experience what some refer to as a ‘twindemic,’ flu and COVID overwhelming ICUs and hospitals. We want to avoid that,” Newsom said on Monday. “You can help aid and advance that by getting a flu shot.”

As of Tuesday, California reported 2,630 new coronavirus cases, bringing  the total to 784,324. There were 53 new COVID-related deaths in the state, for a total of 15,071.

The 14-day positivity rate for the tests was 3%, according to health officials.

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