News

State reopens places of worship, retail — but hair salons still off limits

Capacity is limited to 25% of capacity or maximum 100 attendees

Kaloma Smith, pastor at University AME Zion Church in Palo Alto, delivers a sermon at the Middlefield Road facility. Though the state is allowing churches to reopen, with numerous restrictions, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties still prohibit congregations from gathering. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Places of worship and in-store retail shopping can now reopen statewide, with limitations, the California Department of Public Health announced on Monday.

Under new guidance, places of worship can hold religious services and funerals that limit attendance to 25% of a building's capacity — or up to 100 attendees, whichever is lower.

Retail stores can also reopen for in-store shopping. Both require approval by the county department of public health.

Despite the state's relaxation of public health restrictions, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties continue to operate under stricter stay-at-home orders than the state, and residents of these counties must abide by the local regulations.

The state's updated stay-at-home order continues to prohibit the majority of large gatherings, but the state public health department has issued guidelines for in-person protests and events related to political expression. The guidance limits attendance to 25% of an area's maximum occupancy or up to 100 attendees.

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“Together, our actions have helped bend the curve and reduce infections in our state,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, state public health officer and director of the California Department of Public Health. "As sectors continue to open with changes that aim to lower risk, remember that COVID-19 is still present in our communities. As more of us may be leaving our homes, keeping physical distance, wearing face coverings in public, and washing your hands frequently are more important than ever to help protect yourself and those around you."

The new guidance for religious services and cultural ceremonies encourages institutions to continue online services and activities to protect those who are most at risk for more severe cases of COVID-19, including older adults and people with specific medical conditions.

Organizations wanting to reopen for services and funerals must develop a COVID-19 prevention plan for each location; train staff and evaluate for compliance; implement cleaning and disinfecting protocols; set physical distancing guidelines; recommend that staff and guests wear cloth face coverings; screen staff for temperature and symptoms at the beginning of their shifts; and set parameters or consider eliminating singing and group recitations.

"These activities dramatically increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. For this reason, congregants engaging in singing, particularly in the choir, and group recitation should wear face coverings at all times and when possible, these activities should be conducted outside with greater than six-foot distancing," the health department noted.

New guidance for retailers, which allows in-store shopping and follows previously issues rules for certain counties that advanced their reopenings, now applies statewide. The guidelines require social distancing and health protocols to help reduce the risk for workers and customers. Retail does not include personal services such as hair salons, nail salons and barbershops.

Also under the updated state order, libraries can now offer curbside pickup of materials.

The public health department and local health departments will review and assess the impact of the religious services guidelines in 21 days and will provide further direction for phasing in additional activities. The interval accounts for seven days for religious communities to prepare and reopen and to assess a 14-day incubation period of COVID-19.

Find comprehensive coverage of the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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State reopens places of worship, retail — but hair salons still off limits

Capacity is limited to 25% of capacity or maximum 100 attendees

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, May 25, 2020, 5:35 pm

Places of worship and in-store retail shopping can now reopen statewide, with limitations, the California Department of Public Health announced on Monday.

Under new guidance, places of worship can hold religious services and funerals that limit attendance to 25% of a building's capacity — or up to 100 attendees, whichever is lower.

Retail stores can also reopen for in-store shopping. Both require approval by the county department of public health.

Despite the state's relaxation of public health restrictions, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties continue to operate under stricter stay-at-home orders than the state, and residents of these counties must abide by the local regulations.

The state's updated stay-at-home order continues to prohibit the majority of large gatherings, but the state public health department has issued guidelines for in-person protests and events related to political expression. The guidance limits attendance to 25% of an area's maximum occupancy or up to 100 attendees.

“Together, our actions have helped bend the curve and reduce infections in our state,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, state public health officer and director of the California Department of Public Health. "As sectors continue to open with changes that aim to lower risk, remember that COVID-19 is still present in our communities. As more of us may be leaving our homes, keeping physical distance, wearing face coverings in public, and washing your hands frequently are more important than ever to help protect yourself and those around you."

The new guidance for religious services and cultural ceremonies encourages institutions to continue online services and activities to protect those who are most at risk for more severe cases of COVID-19, including older adults and people with specific medical conditions.

Organizations wanting to reopen for services and funerals must develop a COVID-19 prevention plan for each location; train staff and evaluate for compliance; implement cleaning and disinfecting protocols; set physical distancing guidelines; recommend that staff and guests wear cloth face coverings; screen staff for temperature and symptoms at the beginning of their shifts; and set parameters or consider eliminating singing and group recitations.

"These activities dramatically increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. For this reason, congregants engaging in singing, particularly in the choir, and group recitation should wear face coverings at all times and when possible, these activities should be conducted outside with greater than six-foot distancing," the health department noted.

New guidance for retailers, which allows in-store shopping and follows previously issues rules for certain counties that advanced their reopenings, now applies statewide. The guidelines require social distancing and health protocols to help reduce the risk for workers and customers. Retail does not include personal services such as hair salons, nail salons and barbershops.

Also under the updated state order, libraries can now offer curbside pickup of materials.

The public health department and local health departments will review and assess the impact of the religious services guidelines in 21 days and will provide further direction for phasing in additional activities. The interval accounts for seven days for religious communities to prepare and reopen and to assess a 14-day incubation period of COVID-19.

Find comprehensive coverage of the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 25, 2020 at 9:59 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 25, 2020 at 9:59 pm
19 people like this

It is almost irrelevant to us here in Palo Alto to take very much notice of what the State allows or disallows, because SCC will not pay very much attention until at least all the other Bay Area counties have acted and Palo Alto will act outside that recommendation wanting to go slower.

This may appear to be a flippant comment, but it is what has been happening.

People will drive wherever they can to get a haircut or color treatment. The ones who will suffer are the salons and barbers in the County who are obeying the rules. If someone wants something and they have to drive a couple of hours to get it, then they will drive there, or they will get someone to come to their home privately to do the job.

A restaurant that is open in Napa was interviewed and they said that most of their customers were from far away. People were driving to get to Napa county to eat a meal seated in a restaurant.

There is a great deal more traffic on the roads, I have seen it myself on highways. People are willing to get in their cars, particularly if they are still being paid their regular salary, to drive to get the services they want.


ERNIE B. SANTAMARIA
Mountain View
on May 26, 2020 at 7:55 am
ERNIE B. SANTAMARIA, Mountain View
on May 26, 2020 at 7:55 am
37 people like this

Retail does not include personal services such as hair salons, nail salons and barbershops.
What is the plan to reopen the Salons, The State bureaucracy want to brake all Salons in the bay area. Do they want us to be out of business? When and why the state is taking such of long time to allow these businesses open. We had been using sterilizer equipment and towels many years before the Coronavirus was existent. We are constantly inspected by the Board. Why the bureaucracy of The State of California needs to prevent the owners of Salons open and save their income and investments. What is The State of California going to do if I have to close the doors of my business? What is the State of California going to do to support my family and my home?
NOTHING!!!! because most of the bureaucrats get paid with our money, so they don't care if we can't survive. They get paid anyway.


Former Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 26, 2020 at 8:51 am
Former Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 26, 2020 at 8:51 am
3 people like this

@Ernie
I agree that salons should open up so that people can make a living, and if they can't, then the state should immediately pay for rent and payroll expenses for salons that could not get PPP loans. There should be some kind of serious financial help for businesses that are forced to stay shut down.

That being said, I have seen a lot of questionable things at nail salons in particular. There are definitely very clean, sanitary salons. But there are also those that are unsanitary; they reuse tools, don't clean after each customer, use dirty towels, etc. I have seen this happen at several salons and it is not uncommon how dirty they can be. I'm not saying that this will continue, but I think that there is a lot of risk at salons, particularly nail salons.

The most obvious challenge though is not in the equipment and sanitation methods but with face to fact contact with nail technicians, for extended periods of time. Some of this risk could be mitigated through wearing of masks, but unless N-95 masks are used this won't eliminate a majority of the risk. I believe that they are closed primarily for this reason (close contact) rather than sanitation. There have been reports in other states of salon workers infected with covid-19 that exposed dozens and dozens of customers, in enclosed settings, over prolonged periods of time. We don't know how many customers got infected (what the transmission rate looks like) but its an issue worth considering.


What Will They Do Next
Old Palo Alto
on May 26, 2020 at 11:09 am
What Will They Do Next, Old Palo Alto
on May 26, 2020 at 11:09 am
16 people like this

I wonder where Governor Newsom is getting his hair cut and greased these days ???


dtnorth
Downtown North
on May 26, 2020 at 11:22 am
dtnorth, Downtown North
on May 26, 2020 at 11:22 am
4 people like this

I guess the squeaky wheel gets noticed. Maybe the salon people should start protesting. I would think you can get your hair cut or nails done safer than a church gathering.


resident
Downtown North
on May 26, 2020 at 11:27 am
resident, Downtown North
on May 26, 2020 at 11:27 am
14 people like this

Hair salon employees are infecting their customers with COVID-19. How frequently are they being tested? What other precautions do these businesses need to take? CNN News report: Web Link


TLM
Barron Park
on May 26, 2020 at 11:53 am
TLM, Barron Park
on May 26, 2020 at 11:53 am
16 people like this

It is not responsible to make a statement such as "Hair salon employees are infecting their customers with COVID-19" unless you can back it up. I have not yet seen that any customers at the Missouri hair salons were actually infected. They have been notified of possible exposure, but at more than a week out from the last date of potential exposure, the interviewed man had zero symptoms and was awaiting testing. Per the articles: "Both stylists, as well as all their clients, wore masks. The health department said it hoped “because face coverings were worn throughout this exposure timeline, no additional cases will result.”

“We are hopeful that their strictly enforced policy of masking will prevent any future spread from this case. They also kept detailed records that have made contact tracing a speedy process,” Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director Clay Goddard said Friday.


Praying VS Facemasks & SIP Orders
Barron Park
on May 26, 2020 at 12:03 pm
Praying VS Facemasks & SIP Orders, Barron Park
on May 26, 2020 at 12:03 pm
Like this comment

Over 100 clients were infected by COVID-19 at a Missouri hair salon.
This is unnacceptable given the current pandemic & possibly motivated by monetary interests + individual vanity.

As for church openings, there are many who believe the Almighty is far more omnipotent than the coronavirus.

This remains to be seen as the numbers of afflicted with COVID-19 remains significant.

So one can either pray for an end to the virus and/or wear a facemask & practice SIP mandates.








resident
Downtown North
on May 26, 2020 at 12:42 pm
resident, Downtown North
on May 26, 2020 at 12:42 pm
12 people like this

We need to have practical and realistic health requirements for these hands-on businesses to reopen. How about mandatory COVID-19 testing for all employees every 2 weeks (or at least once a month). Also, daily temperature checks for both customers and employees. I'm reading about businesses in other areas doing this with some level of success.


BK
Midtown
on May 26, 2020 at 1:03 pm
BK, Midtown
on May 26, 2020 at 1:03 pm
13 people like this

Last time I was in Walmart, people were talking all over the store! I even heard someone whistling! But don't let the worshippers sing? Stupid. Is it stupidity, paranoia, or tyranny?


krobinson
South of Midtown
on May 26, 2020 at 1:11 pm
krobinson, South of Midtown
on May 26, 2020 at 1:11 pm
3 people like this

@BK - the issue is that, when you sing in church, you are in the same place for an hour or more, giving you plenty of time to become exposed to enough virus to infect you if someone is sick. When you talk to a person in a store for 5 seconds to ask a question, or even a minute, if you are both wearing masks, that isn’t likely to be long enough to breathe in enough virus to get infected.


Messifan
Ventura
on May 26, 2020 at 1:15 pm
Messifan, Ventura
on May 26, 2020 at 1:15 pm
11 people like this

On the Missouri hair salon over 100 customers were EXPOSED (Web Link), but so far only two stylists are positive. It could be that hair salons are safe with proper protection. Newsom just decided to allow them to open.

---------------------------------

Moderator comment: Newsom's announcement does not take precedence over the stricter restrictions in place in individual counties. Hair salons are not permitted to reopen in Santa Clara County.


TLM
Barron Park
on May 26, 2020 at 2:00 pm
TLM, Barron Park
on May 26, 2020 at 2:00 pm
11 people like this

@Praying VS Facemasks & SIP Orders

You need to read more carefully. Over 100 people were possibly EXPOSED at the hair salons. So far, 11 days later, no one has definitely contracted COVID-19, presumably because both they and the stylists were wearing masks. This was literally written in the post above yours.


Messifan
Ventura
on May 26, 2020 at 3:34 pm
Messifan, Ventura
on May 26, 2020 at 3:34 pm
7 people like this

Mod: My point was the comment "Over 100 clients were infected by COVID-19 at a Missouri hair salon" is untrue and should be removed.


got all the story?
Barron Park
on May 26, 2020 at 3:38 pm
got all the story?, Barron Park
on May 26, 2020 at 3:38 pm
3 people like this

some of my comments over the years have been questionably deleted by the moderator while expressing an opinion that apparently offended the moderator. Yet on this post despite several people calling for a portion of a post that is FACTUALLY wrong the moderator does nothing.


BK
Midtown
on May 26, 2020 at 3:40 pm
BK, Midtown
on May 26, 2020 at 3:40 pm
5 people like this

@krobinson - so why not allow places of worship to reschedule, shorten services with breaks between for ventilation, aerosol disinfectants (like other stores), and limit the number of people in the room at one time? There are usually more rooms than just the sanctuary that everyone can use and spread out, etc. etc. The choir can become a soloist, or a quartet. The speakers and singers are usually separated from the congregants, anyway. There are so many possibilities, the problem is that they aren't even allowed the option.


BK
Midtown
on May 26, 2020 at 3:44 pm
BK, Midtown
on May 26, 2020 at 3:44 pm
14 people like this

And I forgot to mention that they will all be masked! This is madness! This is not a deadly gas in the air, this is not a flesh-eating bacteria, this is not a Plague, this is not guaranteed death for 99% of the population! It is madness to think that a tail can wag a dog!!


got all the story?
Barron Park
on May 26, 2020 at 3:46 pm
got all the story?, Barron Park
on May 26, 2020 at 3:46 pm
19 people like this

@BK
I totally agree with you. I can go into a home depot, Costco, and a tiny 7/11 for that matter yet I'm not allowed to go to church?? Give the churches guidelines to open and let them open. Unbelievable how the civil liberties given to us by our constitution are being trampled by so few, including unelected officials like Sara Cody.

If you don't feel comfortable going to a church don't go, if you don't feel comfortable going to a hair salon , don't go. If you worry about people that go to churches and go to hair salons infecting you then stay at home , you can do it - grubhub, zoom all day, WFH.


TimR
Downtown North
on May 26, 2020 at 5:58 pm
TimR, Downtown North
on May 26, 2020 at 5:58 pm
5 people like this

No, per Newsom, hair salons/barber shops are now allowed to open in counties that meet the requirements. Obviously SCC won't meet the requirements, but...maybe one close by will?


Mrs. Wrongthink
Palo Alto Hills

on May 26, 2020 at 8:30 pm
Name hidden, Palo Alto Hills

on May 26, 2020 at 8:30 pm

Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.


CA is ridiculous
College Terrace
on May 27, 2020 at 12:03 am
CA is ridiculous, College Terrace
on May 27, 2020 at 12:03 am
8 people like this

Anyone know what counties will allow salons to open? We will take a road trip and spend some money in those counties.

Does anyone here know how to make an appointment with someone to cut your hair at home? Can you go on Craigslist and find someone? I don't really care if it breaks these idiotic destructive rules at this point. They lied about "flattening the curve" so why should we follow their crappy rules?


chris
University South
on May 27, 2020 at 10:43 am
chris, University South
on May 27, 2020 at 10:43 am
8 people like this

Many churches that have opened have been irresponsibly spreading COVID-19. Churches in other parts of the state need to prove they are not Petri dishes before SCC relaxes its rules.


Jennifer
another community
on May 27, 2020 at 10:48 am
Jennifer, another community
on May 27, 2020 at 10:48 am
7 people like this

It's time to keep this in perspective. The stats are in favor of reopening the country, and I understand why a lot of people think the cure is worse than the cause.


resident
Downtown North
on May 27, 2020 at 11:43 am
resident, Downtown North
on May 27, 2020 at 11:43 am
10 people like this

The stats favor reopening businesses where 6 foot social distancing can be easily maintained and be very cautious about reopening businesses where social distancing is difficult. Social distancing is going to be the "new normal" until most people are vaccinated.


Resident
Old Palo Alto
on May 27, 2020 at 12:35 pm
Resident, Old Palo Alto
on May 27, 2020 at 12:35 pm
5 people like this

Try a quarantine cut!
Consider cutting your partners hair. It’s easier than you think. I tried this last month with great results. I watched several videos on how to do this to get an idea on how to hold and section the hair. I purchased some good quality 6-6.5" hair scissors and a long fine tooth comb. I had my husband wash his hair, and then I used a spray bottle to keep the hair damp while I worked in small sections. Use the fine tooth comb to lift sections while holding the hair between your fingers and use them as a guide while you cut. I used a pair of sharp embroidery scissors to trim around the ears, and protected the ear area with my cupped fingers. I finished the neck area with a standard Gillette Mach 3 razor.
The result was better than what he typically comes home with from the barber. His colleagues noticed his nice cut when he was on a zoom conference and thought he had broken quarantine to get a haircut. I decided not to use electric shears because I didn’t feel that I would have as much control. I think that the difference between my cut and the one he typically gets is that I used scissors for entire cut (minus the neck area), whereas his barber would use electric shears to save time.
With the exception of cutting my Barbie dolls hair back in first grade, I had no prior experience. The results on Barbie were not too good - I remember my mother donating her to charity afterwards. The key to remember is working in small sections, and hold the hair between your fingers.
Now all I have to do is train him to trim my hair.


chris
University South
on May 27, 2020 at 4:06 pm
chris, University South
on May 27, 2020 at 4:06 pm
10 people like this

Jennifer,

Would you mind staying in your "other community"?

Too many people want to open up without understanding how contagious this disease is. Check the statistics of the states that have opened up to soon. I'm glad SCC has Dr Cody. Residents who don't like it here may be more comfortable where people mix closely without masks in large groups.


resident
Downtown North
on May 27, 2020 at 4:13 pm
resident, Downtown North
on May 27, 2020 at 4:13 pm
10 people like this

Here is a good explanation of Santa Clara County's reopening strategy. We just moved to stage 2 and they want to wait 2 weeks to see if the increase in infections and fatalities is manageable before they open the county to stage 3. ABC News report: Web Link


Jennifer
another community
on May 27, 2020 at 6:51 pm
Jennifer, another community
on May 27, 2020 at 6:51 pm
12 people like this

Chris- I grew up in Palo Alto, and I still have friends and family there - including elderly parents. Our family is deeply rooted in Palo Alto, so no - I won't stay out of Palo Alto. I'm entitled to my opinion, we'll agree to disagree.

Give me Liberty or give me 0.0002% death.


Jennifer
another community
on May 27, 2020 at 7:19 pm
Jennifer, another community
on May 27, 2020 at 7:19 pm
8 people like this

My husband and I are also taxpayers in Palo Alto (we held onto our home) and I attend church in Palo Alto with my elderly mom. This article is of interest to me. Please mind your own business, thank you.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 27, 2020 at 8:00 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 27, 2020 at 8:00 pm
8 people like this

Being a PA taxpayer doesn't give you the right to breathe on and possibly infect other PA taxpayers like me and any of 66.000 other PA taxpayers.

Besides those PA taxpayers, there are all those other people who live elsewhere and pay taxes elsewhere -- like workers, clerks, nurses, doctors etc etc. who live and pay taxes elsewhere.

Health -- yours and mine and everyone else's-- IS everyone's business when dealing with a highly contagious disease. I'd dearly love it if all the protestors spitting on clerks prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2020 at 8:38 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2020 at 8:38 pm
6 people like this

We are under the auspices of Santa Clara County. Anyone living in Santa Clara County is treated the same by the County. It seems that San Mateo County is on the same page as SCC, but what's the betting San Mateo will be allowed to have hair cuts before SCC?

BTW, Jennifer if you live in SCC, your opinion is just as valid as any other SCC resident (or in this particular case San Mateo) since the article is about both.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2020 at 3:10 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 28, 2020 at 3:10 pm
6 people like this

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community

>> Please mind your own business, thank you.

*Your* COVID-19 case could very easily be harmless to you, and yet, deadly to *me*. You could have no symptoms, and yet still transmit your illness to an essential worker who then transmits it to me. In a pandemic, everyone else's COVID-19 illness is, in fact, everyone's business.


resident
Downtown North
on May 28, 2020 at 3:50 pm
resident, Downtown North
on May 28, 2020 at 3:50 pm
8 people like this

To all you shaggy people - San Francisco announced that barber shops and hair salons can resume business on July 13 if infection and fatality rates hold steady. Some other types of businesses are allowed to reopen on June 1 or June 15. Since all the Bay Area counties are collaborating on these health measures, I bet that Santa Clara County will have a similar schedule. Indoor restaurants can also reopen on July 13.


lina crane
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 31, 2020 at 3:43 pm
lina crane, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 31, 2020 at 3:43 pm
Like this comment

What about house cleaners?


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