Alameda County issued a revised shelter order on Friday that allows a handful of business sectors to resume outdoor operations beginning Friday Aug. 28. These activities have been deemed to have a “low risk” of spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The county will allow personal care services like nail & hair salons and swimming pools to resume operating outside, with the exception of services like eyebrow threading and facial waxing that may require a customer to remove their face covering.
Wineries will also be allowed to offer outdoor tastings by appointment. They will not be required to serve food with alcohol, a rule that currently applies to businesses like breweries that operate outdoors.
County interim Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss encouraged residents to continue following local and state health and safety guidelines even if they plan to get a haircut outside or go swimming.
“These outdoor activities we are allowing to reopen are relatively low risk,” Moss said, “but whenever we increase opportunities for people to mix, we see an increase in cases.”
Alameda County health officials issued the updated health order Aug. 21 but postponed the effective date to Friday due to the recent heat wave and subsequent fires in the Bay Area, which led to poor air quality for several days.
The city of Berkeley, which operates within the county as an independent local health jurisdiction, issued an identical order allowing salons, pools and wineries to operate outside. That order will also take effect Friday.
Despite the evolving health guidelines, some businesses that would be eligible to resume operating outside have chosen to postpone doing so.
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We would like to address all of the inquiries we have received about the outdoor haircutting Alameda County has recently approved. Unfortunately, due to a number of factors, open air haircuts is not something that is feasible for our circumstances. We are continuing to take steps to address and plead with county and state health officials to approve the reopening of our doors. We are hopeful the momentum within the barber industry will continue to show the state the amount of shops who are also unable to move business outdoors and provide a solution for us. We are trying our best to remain patient and appreciate yours as well. #savesmallbusinesses #supportsmallbusinesses
“Unfortunately, due to a number of factors, open air haircuts is not something that is feasible for our circumstances,” shared Bruce’s Barbershop via their Instagram account. Bruce’s operates out of the “breezeway” alley of the Public Market.
DW Barbershop on San Pablo Avenue did reopen and could be seen attending to customers on the sidewalk on Saturday afternoon. “Things have started started off a bit slow,” said DW Barbershop proprietor Darrell Williams who acknowledged that businesses like his were in kind of a ‘survival mode.’ “We think it’ll take a couple weeks to get the word out.”
The ECCL swimming pool did not immediately reopen but are working to train staff for the new guidelines and are targeting reopening the facility for limited programming by mid-September. “We will be working in the coming weeks to train staff in modified rescue techniques and build programming around the guidelines we just received from the County,” shared City of Emeryville Recreation Manager Brad Helfenberger.
Alameda County schools are still required to operate via distance learning indefinitely while the county’s coronavirus case rate is still elevated to levels that state health officials deem unsafe.
Moss suggested students and school staff should prepare for an eventual return to in-person classes but gave no indication when that could happen.
“We recognize the vital importance of classroom learning for children and youth, but we must take a slow and measured approach,” he said.
Read the entire Health Order on ACgov.org →
Feature Image: Darrell Williams