Churches, beauty salons, barbershops in most counties, including Kings County, get go ahead to reopen

By Ed Martin, Editor
Lemoore Presbyterian Church
Lemoore Presbyterian Church

Life as we know it is slowly beginning to return to normal, or albeit some sense of normal. On Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom told the state’s shaggy populace that it’s okay to get a haircut at a salon or a barbershop and attend church services.

But he added that it is important to continue utilizing key prevention practices, including:

  • physical distancing to the maximum extent possible,
  • use of face coverings by workers (where respiratory protection is not required) and customers/clients,
  • frequent handwashing and regular cleaning and disinfection,
  • training workers on these and other elements of the COVID-19 prevention plan.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced on Tuesday that houses of worship, hair salons, and barbershops located in counties that have attested to accelerated reopening may reopen as soon as Wednesday, May 27, but with modifications, which include facemasks, physical distancing, frequent handwashing, and implementing a prevention plan.

California approved Kings County’s variance attestation last week, affirming that Kings County has met the state’s readiness criteria to allow for an expanded set of businesses to open with modifications.

“We are excited about the continued opening of different sectors in our community and encourage all businesses and houses of worship to follow the CDPH guidelines to protect their constituents,” said Edward Hill, Director of the Kings County Department of Public Health. “We are looking forward to working with businesses and other entities getting ready to reopen to make sure they do so with as many safeguards in place to protect their staff and the community as a whole.”

Opening a shuttered business during the pandemic isn’t as easy as unlocking the front door.  The governor’s guidelines include protocols on cleaning and disinfecting, individual measures and screening, and certainly continuing the practice of social distancing, all terms with which California’s vast population has become all too familiar.

The new guidance comes on the heels of Kings County’s successful attestation, a document approved by the state that attests to the county’s ability to reopen while still mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.

Specific guidance is posted on the California Department of Public Health’s website outlining the steps needed to successfully open hair salons, barbershops, and churches.

Guidelines for the safe reopening of these sectors can be found at

California’s latest incursion into reopening local businesses comes on the heels of California’s loosening up on the Stage 2 guidelines. Most of California’s counties meet the requirements for opening under Stage 2.

Stage 3 workplaces include higher-risk businesses that provide personal care and recreational venues, businesses like salons and barbershops.

Stage 4 opens large gatherings like sports venues and concerts.

Key prevention practices for places of worship, providers of religious services, and cultural ceremonies include: 

  • Physical distancing to the maximum extent possible. 
  • Use of face coverings by employees and volunteers (where respiratory protection is not required) and congregants/visitors.
  • Frequent handwashing and regular cleaning and disinfection.
  • Training employees and volunteers on these and other elements of the COVID-19 prevention plan.
  • Further, it is strongly recommended that places of worship continue to facilitate remote services and other related activities for those who are vulnerable to COVID19, including older adults and those with co-morbidities.

Under the new guidance to reopen, salons and barbershops must:

  • Implement measures to ensure physical distancing of at least six feet between and among workers and customers, except when providing haircutting and other close contact services.
  • Provide temperature and/or symptom screenings for all workers at the beginning of their shift and any vendors, contractors, or other workers entering the establishment.
  • Encourage workers and customers who are sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home.
  • Screen customers upon arrival and be prepared to cancel or reschedule customers who indicate they have any signs of illness.
  • Require workers and customers to use face coverings during the entire haircutting and other close contact hair services.

The Kings County Department of Public Health requires churches, salons, and barbershops intending to open should follow the guidance listed on the Reopen Kings website (address shown below). Each must have a written plan in place before opening. The written procedures are not required to be submitted to Health authorities but must be available for review upon request. Environmental Health and Safety staff can be reached at (559) 584-1411 to answer questions and provide additional guidance.

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