California is Moving into Phase 3 of Reopening… So, What Does That Mean?

Earlier this week, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California will begin moving into phase 3 of reopening. Counties that can prove to that state that they have COVID-19 under control locally are allowed to reopen hair salons and barber shops. Phase 3 also includes the reopening of gyms, movie theaters, and professional sporting events without live audiences; however, these facilities are not allowed to fully open as of right now. In what a lot of people are now calling phase 2.5, it can be confusing to know where exactly we are at in the stages of reopening the state. What’s allowed? What’s not allowed? Should we still wear a mask?

The answer to the latter is a definite yes. Wearing a face mask is still heavily recommended while out in public, and some businesses even require visitors to wear face masks. In fact, one of the new health and safety guidelines for hair salons is that all staff and customers must wear face masks. For now, wearing a mask can be safely assumed necessary. So, what does phase 3, or 2.5, mean? Basically, California is slowly moving into a full phase 3, but in parts.

Currently, there are some sit down dining areas, in-store retail shopping, private gym classes, hair salons, and barber shops beginning to reopen to the public. These businesses are only allowed to open if their counties pass a set of criteria put out by the state. So far, 47/58 counties have passed the requirements (outlined below).

  • Stable or decreasing hospitalization rate OR no more than 20 people hospitalized in the county for the last 14 days
  • No more than 25 individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 per 100,000 residents over past 14 days
  • Test positivity rate of less than 8%
  • Essential workers must have access to PPE
  • A minimum capacity of 1.5 tests per 1,000 residents daily
  • At least 15 contact tracers per 100,000 residents
  • Ability to temporarily house 15% of the county’s homeless population
  • Hospitals are equipped to handle a 35% surge at minimum
  • Nursing facilities have a two-week supply of PPE
  • Continue to monitor metrics to potentially re-enact restrictions

The remaining 11 counties that are not able to move into the newer phases of reopening are Alameda, Contra Costa, Imperial, Los Angeles, Marin, Monterey, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz. So, if you’re in Los Angeles and looking to get your hair cut, you’re not going to find any open hair salons or barber shops quite yet.

As we slowly move into the further stages of reopening the state, it is important above all else to stay safe and stay healthy. Make sure to wear a mask when you’re out in public, keep practicing social distancing from others, and stock up on hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean. Just because businesses are beginning to open back up doesn’t mean that suddenly we’re all safe and everything is back to normal. Go at your own pace, practice what makes you feel comfortable and safe.