Articles > Coronavirus > California Salons Can Operate Outside: Here Are The New Rules
Last updated: August 31, 2020

California Salons Can Operate Outside: Here Are The New Rules

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Manuel Saucedo, owner of Risqué Beauty Lounge in Redondo Beach, cuts a client’s hair outside. Screenshot from NBC Los Angeles video.

Stylists In California Must Do Hair Outside If They Want To Open

For California stylists, the past week has been a completely confusing whirlwind. From being forced to close again, then getting guidelines on how to move their salon services outside, hairdressers in the state are trying to figure out what they have to do to stay in business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep reading for a breakdown of the new California guidelines for outdoor salon services and find out what salon services are not allowed to be done outside.


Here’s What Happened in California

 After being allowed to open and operate for about six weeks, California Gov. Gavin Newsom closed salons and other businesses in 30+ counties—with the caveat that if these businesses could safely operate outdoors, they would be able to stay open. Then, the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology said outdoor services were not permitted, putting hairdressers’ licenses at risk. Many stylists in the state were upset and voiced their opinions to the state board immediately.


After hearing so many hairdressers’ concerns, this week the state board, the California Department of Consumer Affairs and Gov. Newsom announced that salons and barbershops would be allowed to perform services outside, following additional strict guidelines. Below, we’re breaking down these guidelines.


AUG. 31 Update: 

On August 28, California Gov. Gavin Newsom released a new, color-coded monitoring system entitled “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” for reopening counties and businesses throughout the state. Although the state has allowed salons and barbershops to reopen, no matter the county’s COVID-19 status, local and county health officials are permitted to enforce further restrictions. As of Monday, Aug. 31, larger counties like Los Angeles and Alameda, as well as the city of San Francisco are not allowing personal care services to resume indoor operations. We strongly advice you to check with your local health department for your county’s reopening status.


Why Must Services Be Done Outside Instead of Inside?

The state of California is allowing some businesses to operate outdoors because the risk of transmitting COVID-19 is lower outdoors under specified circumstances.



Do I Have To Offer Outdoor Services?

No, you don’t have to offer outdoor services. The new guidelines explain how to safely offer services outside, but do not require you to do so. However, if your salon is located in one of the 33 counties on the state’s coronavirus “watchlist,” you cannot perform any indoor operations. The new rules allow salons in the entire state to operate outside if they choose. Click here to see which counties are on the watchlist.


What Services Are Allowed Outside?

The new rules state that shops should not perform services “that would require a customer to enter the establishment.” That means no chemical services—including haircolor, lightener, perms or straightening treatments—or shampooing. “Chemical hair services and shampooing cannot be performed outdoors due to the inability to ensure adequate drainage and proper waste disposal.”


Personal care services such as facials, waxing and nail services are permitted outdoors as well.


The new rules prohibit electrolysis, piercing and tattoos as outdoor services.


Should We Still Wear Masks Outdoors?

Yes—face masks must be worn by stylists and clients, even outdoors. The rules also require limiting the number of people in the outdoor area, staggering appointment times to minimize the number of clients and advising clients to wait in their cars until their stylist is ready. You should still be social distancing, and stations must be at least 6 feet apart..


Need Salon PPE? Get Masks As Low As $1.70: Click Here!


Where Should I Set Up An Outdoor Location?

The area where you offer outdoor services must be near your “licensed establishment,” such as a parking lot or sidewalk that will be closed to public access during service hours. A shelter from sun or rain may be used, as long as it is not enclosed on more than one side.


Local county and city ordinances may require special permits for outdoor services—the state board recommends researching this to find out before you move services outside.


What About Restrooms?

The new rules state that one individual at a time is allowed to use the indoor restroom. As you were doing prior to the indoor shutdown, continue cleaning and disinfecting the restroom regularly. Click here for cleaning and disinfecting protocols and checklists!


What Else Should We Be Doing?

All the protocols you put in place to perform services indoors—using hand sanitizer frequently, disinfecting your station, storing soiled linens in covered containers, etc.—should be continued for outdoor services.


Download Coronavirus Cleaning Checklists, Signs and Tools: Click Here!


What About Nail Services?

If your shop offers nail services outdoors, pedicures are limited to portable tubs/bowls and should be disinfected inside the salon, not outside. Water for the portable tub must be filled inside the shop and dumped inside the shop—nothing should be filled/dumped outside.


I Have More Questions—Where Should I Go?

The state of California’s guidance is below:



Find the Salon Operation Rules In Your State: Click Here!