Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Salons and Barbershops Allowed to Provide Outdoor Services

Photo by Maria Geller from Pexels

If you were afraid you missed the brief window when barber shops and beauty salons were open, worry no longer – you can now get a professional haircut outdoors.

After barbers and hairdressers were included last week in a new set of business closures sparked by the current COVID-19 surge, California Governor Gavin Newsom said yesterday that – like other businesses on the list – they will still be allowed to provide their services IF they can do so outdoors.

Following the announcement, the California Department of Public Health issued a new set of guidelines for outdoor hair cutting and styling operations.  The document says, “Outdoor operations may be conducted under a tent, canopy, or other sun shelter as long as no more than one side is closed, allowing sufficient outdoor air movement.”

But there are definitly some challenges.  For example, “salons and barbershops should not perform a service that would require a customer to have to enter the establishment” — which would mean they can’t send clients indoors for a shampoo or rinse, which could make some hair services, such as coloring and highlighting, challenging.

Also, as expected these days, the guidelines document contains long lists of protocols for:

  • Face covering requirements for both employees and customers
  • Cleaning and disinfecting protocols
  • Physical distancing guidelines for both check-in and services

…and more.

But some salon owners are still looking forward to at least a partial re-opening of their businesses.

Romi Cortier, of Romi Cortier Design, on Larchmont Blvd., said his salon is already making preparations for outdoor services, and he hopes to be ready to go by the end of this week.  In fact, he’s already worked out a deal for space in the parking lot he shares with another business, and he’s now busy acquiring some 10′ x 10′ tents, long extension cords and mats for the workspace.

Of course, plans are still evolving, but Cortier says he’s currently in a “sort-it-out kind of vibe.”

For example, Cortier said he currently has six stylists doing hair, but because they’ll need to maintain 6-foot social distancing under the new outdoor rules, he may split up that crew and rotate them three at a time.  Also, the prohibition on sending people indoors for shampoos will be another “tough thing” to figure out.   One possible solution, he said, is house calls, since clients can just duck back into their own bathrooms to rinse or shower after the outdoor cut or color.

Unfortunately, however, not all Larchmont hair services are so fortunate.  George Hilario, owner of the Larchmont Barber Shop, told the Buzz this morning that the new permissions probably won’t help him, because his shop has no outdoor space where he can set up and serve customers. There’s no available parking lot behind the building, and – unlike restaurants currently benefitting from the city’s Al Fresco program – barbers can’t reserve sidewalk or parking spaces in front of their buildings.  So for now, at least, his shop will remain closed.

Those who do have room to maneuver, though – like Cortier – are happier.  He says he’ll “just keep rolling with the punches” to find the best way to maintain his services.  “I feel like this [pandemic] is going to go on for a long time, so we have to do our best to keep people safe, and keep people looking good.”

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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