20200520-bc-haircuts (copy)

In this file photo is Ramona Potts, who owns Atomic Kitten Salon on Eye Street. She has been making improvements to prepare for when business returns to normal.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced counties that have attained a regional variance from the state will be allowed to reopen barbershops and hair salons.

Kern County, along with 46 others in California, have obtained variances, and can begin allowing barbershops and hair salons to start accepting customers for the first time in more than two months.

The announcement came shortly after Newsom said churches could begin holding services again, and he positioned the reopenings as signs that life is starting to return to normal.

“(This is) giving you a sense that we’re making progress, we’re moving forward. We’re not looking back, but we are walking into the unknown, the untested, literally and figuratively,” he said during a Tuesday news conference. “And we have to be guided by the data that brought us to this place in the first place. And that is guided by these principles of openness and transparency, principles where all of us are required to do a little bit more and a little bit better to make sure we’re protecting the spread of this virus, particularly, again, as we meaningfully reopen the economy in this state.”

Kern County qualified for a regional variance by meeting certain state benchmarks, like having stable hospitalization rates and recording less than 8 percent of tests as positive for the coronavirus. By meeting the criteria, Kern was able to advance through the second stage of the governor’s four-part reopening plan and allow many businesses to begin operations again.

Kern County public health spokeswoman Michelle Corson called the governor’s announcement very exciting, adding that barbershops and hair salons could open immediately as long as they follow state guidelines.

The guidelines require each hair-cutting business to develop a work-site plan detailing steps the business will take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Barbershops and hair salons will be required to check employees’ temperatures before each shift and screen customers when they arrive.

Face masks must be worn during a haircut, the state says in the guidelines. Facilities should provide customers with clean masks, according to the state.

In addition to face masks and temperature checks, businesses must follow a lengthy set of social distance and cleaning protocols. Appointments must be staggered to limit the number of people in a salon at any one time.

For Ramona Potts, owner of Atomic Kitten Salon, the announcement couldn't have come at a better time. She's been preparing for the eventual go-ahead to reopen, ordering masks and curtains to protect customers and employees, and even installing ultraviolet lights that will sterilize the store at night.

“We’ve got everything in place and we’re ready to go,” she said, adding she would reopen Monday to ensure everything was in order by the time the salon began accepting customers. “I am really excited about it.”

She expects the salon to fill up daily for about a month, as customers who haven’t been able to get a haircut for two months all try to sign up for an appointment immediately. Since the forced closures, at least one customer has been calling every couple of days.

With the governor’s announcement Tuesday, calls have only increased.

“The phone has been ringing off the hook,” she said, adding that the salon would try to accommodate long-standing customers before signing up new clients for appointments.

Still, after a long period of no business, the uptick in customers is appreciated, and will allow more people to return to work after potentially months off.

“I have some part-time people that will probably be full time when this is all over with,” Potts added.

You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.

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(10) comments

Take action Now

Does anyone know where the people from MasterCuts went to after the store closed at Valley Plaza. I’m lost and need a haircut from the best 😄👍😄

Take action Now

Does anyone know where the gals, from Mastercuts go to after they closed at Valley Plaza. Tanya and Mariann I miss you . The railroad guy😁

KernBarrel40

Great news. Finally. I am going to my barber this week.

I wish all businesses a fast recovery. This China Wuhan virus was deadly for our health and finances. Time for us to wake up and stop all trading with China. The next pandemic outbreak from China is going to be worse if we keep trading with them.

All Star

I got my hair washed and cut today. My hair gal, who has been in business for over 25 years, had to leave the salon she worked at when salons were shut down. She said the new regulations that will be imposed will be almost impossible to follow. So she is going to continue working at a private location for those clients who wish to still use her services.

Moardeeb

A hairdresser back East worked sick for a week exposing 100 people.

Independent Voter

LOL, Dweeb...

Gene Pool Chlorinator

Many of us have likely been exposed, but how many of those 100 (always a nice round number) people have become infected Dweeb?

I'll await your canned response...

All Star

You didn't hear about the two hairdressers in Missouri who infected 140?

Moardeeb

That's who I was talking about. One of the patrons said he was very angry, and now he's just scared quarantined at home. Hey, nobody forced him to get a haircut. Rolls the dice and takes your chances! Priorities, perspective.

Gene Pool Chlorinator

No, I only heard about them "exposing" between 100-140.

Haven't heard anything about that many actually being "infected"...

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