Mixed reaction from personal care service industry on moving operations outdoors

Posted at 11:38 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 02:38:12-04

You might have a new view next time you go get your hair done as Governor Newsom announced Monday personal care services like hair salons, barbershops, and nail salons can reopen as long as they operate outside.

If you've been in Downtown San Luis Obispo recently, you may have noticed several restaurants now have parklets where you can dine outdoors and now salons are getting them too.

Buzzing with "shear" excitement, The Ritual Barbershop in Downtown San Luis Obispo is now one step closer to reopening for a second time.

"They've eased up a bit so we can take it to the streets I guess - bringing it outside," Barber Samuel Mejia said.

New state regulations allow personal care services like barbershops, hair salons, and nail salons to operate outdoors under a tent or some type of sun shelter, as long as no more than one side is closed.

Barbers at The Ritual plan on turning a parklet into their outdoor barbershop.

"We'll have all of our chairs six feet apart for social distancing," Mejia said. "We'll have covered receptacles for soiled towels and all of our soiled tools will be once used and placed in a soiled container where we can wash and disinfect those."

Mejia said most of their tools are wireless so cutting hair outside will be a pretty seamless change.

However, some downtown salons like Tigerlily that offer color services and hair extensions are concerned with the transition and new guidelines from the state.

"Some of the things are completely changing over everything's already been established in our salon to brand new things, which is fine but it's expensive for a place that has only been opened for seven weeks," Larella Ellsworth, owner of Tigerlily Salon, said.

Ellsworth said a majority of their income comes from color services which can be difficult to manage without letting people in the salon.

"I think that running extension cords outside can be easy but I don't know how to do a shampoo, foiling, even some of our extensions and stuff like that; I don't know how to do all the services we normally provide," she said.

Ellsworth said she'd rather these decisions be left up to the city or county on a case-by-case basis instead of a one-size-fits-all approach from the state.

"Maybe come around and assess each location and their building size and come up with a new occupancy rate for each building instead of saying you're open or you're closed," she said.

Ellsworth said she has applied for a parklet and will still try to figure out a way to reopen outside.

The city said there will be about 18 temporary parklets up by the end of this week.

For those interested in applying for a parklet, you can email:

Piercing and tattoo services cannot reopen at this time.