Barbershops to open as COVID-19 rules ease in parts of California

Sharon Bernstein
FILE PHOTO: Resident gets a haircut at the Chateau Barber Shop, prior to California Governor Gavin Newsom's effective immediately statewide shelter-in-place order, in the face of the fast-spreading coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Napa, CA

By Sharon Bernstein

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - Barbershops and hair salons can re-open with some changes to their operations in parts of California where public health officials call it safe, Governor Gavin Newsom said on Tuesday, as the most populous U.S. state continued to ease its coronavirus-related restrictions.

Salon employees in the 47 of California's 58 counties that have been cleared to re-open them will be required to wear face coverings and encouraged to also don goggles or other eye protection when working with customers, new guidelines released on Tuesday said. Customers must also wear face coverings, use hand sanitizer and follow social distancing guidelines.

Workers and customers must all be screened for fever and other symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The move to allow haircuts by appointment in most of the state's 58 counties comes a day after Newsom allowed churches to hold abbreviated services with no more than 25% of their buildings' capacity.

Nationwide, some health experts warn that reopening too quickly could trigger outbreaks of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Twenty U.S. states reported an increase in new cases for the week ended May 24 as the death toll nears 100,000, according to a Reuters analysis. Florida reported a nearly 6% increase, while New York registered a double-digit decline.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday called on President Donald Trump to support infrastructure spending to jumpstart the U.S. economy as states further relaxed lockdowns and some people flouted precautions aimed at curtailing the novel coronavirus.

Recognizing the risk of a second surge of the disease, Newsom chastised Californians who packed beaches over the Memorial Day weekend, or congregated without face coverings.

"We're not even out of the first wave of this pandemic," he said. "This pandemic has just begun."

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; editing by Jonathan Oatis, Marguerita Choy and Tom Brown)