Barbershops, hair salons allowed to reopen with restrictions

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Vincent Hernandez receives a haircut by Abraham Gonzales, a barber at San Benito Barbers, which reopened on May 27. (Juan Reyes)

San Benito County moved forward with opening hair salons and barbershops as the county qualified for the local variance for the expansion of Phase 2 in the state’s roadmap to reopen.             

On May 26, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the reopening guidance for hair salons and barbershops. Uziel Arredondo, who owns San Benito Barbers, said he opened his shop the day after the announcement.

The 29-year old barber said he’s just happy to be back to a “semi-normal” routine.

“We’re a business, people need cuts and I got tired of being at home,” he said.

Arredondo, who got a late start to the day, said he was already nine haircuts deep by 3 p.m., getting customers from as far as Gilroy.

“Everyone’s calling me right now asking ‘Are you open? You got anything open right now?’” he said. “As soon as they heard the news they were blowing me up.”

The shops are allowed to provide services as long as both the worker and customer are wearing face coverings throughout the service. Allowed services include haircuts, hair coloring, blowouts, weaves and extensions, braiding, lock maintenance, wig maintenance and hair relaxing treatments. 

Arredondo, who opened the barber shop in July 2019, said it hasn’t been hard to adjust to the new face covering guidelines but it has been a different experience for him.

Arredondo also mentioned he knows some barbers won’t start working until two weeks from now, thinking they might try to wait out to see what the process looks like.

Abraham Gonzales, who rents a space in Arredondo’s shop, said working around the face coverings is just one more step in the process of cutting hair.

“It hasn’t been too much of an issue,” Gonzales said.

Salon activities that can’t be done with face coverings on both the worker and client or that require touching the client’s face remain prohibited in all counties.

Those services include shaving, facial waxing, threading, eyelash services and facials. Nail salons also remain closed. 

Under the new guidance to reopen, salons and barbers must implement measures to keep the social distancing order in effect. That includes a requirement that people waiting in line must be at least six feet between workers and customers.

Businesses need to provide temperature and symptom screenings for all workers at the beginning of their shift. The screenings should also be available to customers, vendors, contractors and other workers before they enter the establishment. 

Hair salons and barbershops are asked to self-certify by referring to the state guidance and using the San Benito County Self-Certification window placard. 

Once they’re ready to open, owners will display the San Benito County Self-Certification Window Placard on the front door or window.

Gonzales said reopening the shop is essential because he knows a lot of his customers take pride in how they look.

“And how they look directly affects how they feel for a lot of people,” Gonzales said. “So that haircut is huge.”

Arredondo added that getting a haircut is equivalent to a woman getting a nice makeover.

Gonzales’ client, Vincent Hernandez, said it was a while since he had a haircut, adding that his hair was “a mop” before going into the shop on Wednesday afternoon.

“It feels good, real good because I can clean up, clean up my hair and walk around,” Hernandez said. “And not just walk around but take photos.”