Indoor Nail Salon Services Are Now Permitted in California, but Counties Will Make the Call

Los Angeles County officials recently said reopenings were being paused through the end of September
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SEPTEMBER 22, 2020 – Nail salons across California may begin reopening for indoor service as of today, as far as state-level authorities are concerned–but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to get a manicure indoors at an L.A. salon just yet.

The new guidelines announced by state secretary of health Dr. Mark Ghaly at a press conference today apply to all counties, regardless of where they currently are in the reopening tier system. L.A. County is still at the most restrictive tier, referred to as
“purple,” for counties where the risk of COVID-19 spread remains most urgent.

But while the state allows for all counties to approve indoor services, they are putting it in the hands of individual counties to establish rules for when and how local nail salons can actually reopen. While L.A. County officials have not yet directly addressed the nail salon guidelines, they have previously said that reopenings will be on pause through the end of September, awaiting clearer information about a possible post-Labor Day surge trend.

When the time to reopen comes, each salon will have to demonstrate that it has met the state reopening safety checklist for businesses and instituted protocols which are expected to include limiting capacity, enhanced cleaning, and requiring face coverings.


SEPTEMBER 2, 2020 – 

Following the California reopening guidelines established last week, L.A. County will allow limited indoor service at hair salons and barber shops, effective once the county health order is officially updated. For the time being, indoor service will be capped at 25 percent of salon capacity but, as Supervisor Janice Hahn noted in a tweet about the new policy, that cap may begin to inch up following the Labor Day holiday weekend. Outdoor services may also continue.

In other Southern California counties, some indoor service at shopping malls and fitness centers has resumed under the new guidelines, but Los Angeles is approaching reopening more deliberately.

Every county in the region remains at Tier 1 except for San Diego County, which has advanced to Tier 2. The leading metric for recovery is a county’s per capita new infection rate. To move to Tier 2 and be allowed to reopen additional businesses, a county must hold its daily new infections to no more than seven confirmations per 100,000 residents. Currently, Los Angeles has just over 13.


AUGUST 28, 2020 – After months of fits and starts, California has a new reopening roadmap in place. Today, Governor Gavin Newsom released his modified reopening framework for schools and businesses across the state, informed by a strategy he describes as “simple, stringent, and slow.”

Color-coded tiers will replace the current county-by-county “watch list” system. Each county has one of four colors assigned to it at any given time: purple, red, orange, or yellow. Case rate and positivity rate will determine what color a county gets, and when it is ready to advance to the next stage.

Currently, Los Angeles County is part of the 87 percent of the state listed as purple, indicating that the risk of COVID-19 remains widespread. Only the sparsely populated Modac and Tuolumne counties have reached yellow status as of today.

The California Department of Public Health will check in on each county every week, with the first weekly assessment under the new framework starting on September 8. Once a county moves to a lower threat tier it must hold at that level and continue showing improvement on both indicators before it can continue toward yellow. If those metrics show a back-slide at the weekly assessment, the county will be moved back to a higher threat level. If things really start going south, the system offers an “emergency break” option.

A chart provided by CDPH matches various business operations to their threat level. Movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers, and restaurants can all begin to offer limited-capacity indoor service once the county enters Tier 2 (red). Offices cannot begin to allow workers back until Tier 3 (orange), and, even at Tier 4 (yellow), must encourage telework for all eligible employees. Professional sports events will continue to take place without audiences even into Tier 4, according to the chart; other types of live entertainment including theaters and concert venues do not even appear on the document.

As for in-person schooling, the system established last month remains in place, but simply swaps being in Tier 1 for being on the “watch list.” The waiver system for counties in Tier 1 remains in effect. Once a county moves beyond Tier 1 and holds for two weeks without seeing an increase in cases, in-person instruction can begin, provided that all the existing school guidelines are met.


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