Hair salons and barbershops in Los Angeles County will be able to re-open with some limitations.

L.A. County officials announced Wednesday morning that hair salons and barbershops in L.A. County can open indoors at 25% capacity. That number will be reevaluated three weeks after Labor Day, according to a tweet from L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn.

Business owners have felt confused and frustrated since the orders have changed multiple times during the pandemic.

“It has been extremely challenging,” said Sean Jay. of Juan Juan Salon. “You just have to do whatever they said. This is the issue.”

On Aug. 28, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new color-coded, four-tier system meant to track each county’s COVID-19 cases. According to the rating system, L.A. County was allowed to reopen hair salons and barbershops for indoor service.

The new California state regulations for re-opening. (Courtesy of covid19.ca.gov).
The new California state regulations for re-opening. (Courtesy of covid19.ca.gov).

However, hours after the state’s announcement, the L.A. County Health Department tweeted that salons were not allowed to open. But on Wednesday, less than a week later, the decision was reversed in a tweet making it the third time the order changed within a week.

“There isn’t one central voice in what is safe and what is not safe,” Jennifer Cunningham, the owner of Gamine Beauty, said. “I’m not exactly sure what that means and how to implement 25% capacity.”

This confusion has stifled her business.”I cannot participate in offering more jobs out into the world for the job market because I can’t have more stylists. I can’t have a receptionist. I can’t hire anybody. I can’t grow my business,” she said.

Hair salons, like so many other businesses, have taken a huge financial hit due to the pandemic. Customers also have been inconvenienced.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi drew criticism for her recent visit to a hair salon indoors despite San Francisco’s current restriction.

Some have resorted to self-grooming. “I can’t wait to go to the salon,” said Yixuan Ji, a graduate student studying TESOL at USC. “I had long messy hair during the pandemic, and so did my boyfriend. We watched some videos on YouTube and got a haircutting kit from Amazon to cut each other’s hair.”

“Many of my friends including me decided to cut our hair at home because right now we just can’t go to hair salons. We got the hair cutting scissors set and watched tutorials online. I think many people do the same thing,” said Zoe Hou, a graduate student studying public diplomacy. “I can’t even imagine how hard it is for hair salons to go through these days.”

Previous state reopening guidelines stated that hair salons and barbershops could only provide limited outdoor services.

“Nobody is really doing the outdoor services,” said Jay. “You weren’t allowed to shampoo hair, and you weren’t allowed to do any kind of chemical services. That’s why we decided not to open up to do any hair salon outside. That was almost nonsense.”

He said he is trying to figure out a better way to operate his salon and serve customers under the safety protocol.

L.A. County officials will re-evaluate the situation three weeks after Labor Day, which means things could potentially change—again.