Newsom: CA Days Away From Plan to Reopen Barbershops, Salons, Churches, Gyms

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Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday said he's just days away from announcing a plan to reopen barbershops and salons across the state as well as guidelines for houses of worship and gyms.

Newsom made the announcement during his coronavirus briefing, also adding the grim detail that the state recorded 88 more deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

In honor of Memorial Day, Newsom was at the Yountville Veterans Home, the largest facility in the U.S. for housing American veterans.

Newsom also announced the launch of the state's contact tracing program and awareness campaign, called California Connected.

“We are all eager to get back to work and play, and that’s why we’re asking Californians to answer the call when they see their local public health department reaching out by phone, email or text,” Newsom said in a statement. “That simple action of answering the call could save lives and help keep our families and communities healthy.”

The contact tracing program is led by state and local public health officials in partnership with the University of California, San Francisco and UCLA. The two universities have launched a training academy to help develop the state's contact tracing workforce.

Earlier Friday, President Trump declared houses of worship "essential" and called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue guidelines for reopening such establishments. Newsom said he and his team will take a look at those guidelines and respond by Monday with a plan for California.

Barbershops, hair salons and nail salons are designated in Phase 3 of Newsom's reopening plan because of the interactive nature of those businesses. Late last month, owners of two such businesses in Vacaville -- Hairendipity and Primo's Barber Shop -- defied the state order and reopened.

Some small business owners are pushing back against the forced closing of their companies by government mandate. Sharon Katsuda reports.

At the Armando Romo beauty salon in San Jose, the owner’s family spent the day moving furniture and equipment to make more room inside.

They’ve stocked up on cleaning supplies and they’re getting ready to teach their clients how different it will be when they reopen.

Newsom said his administration has been working on getting more personal protective equipment like masks, which will be a key element of opening some of the businesses under Phase Three.

“As it relates to the personal care industry, broadly defined, and making sure we get feedback to put out guidelines in that space, PPE is a big part of that conversation,” Newsom said.

He said guidelines for gyms will also be released in the next few days.

Redwood City boutique gym owner Rahsaan Carty said he’s rearranging the layout to make sure there’s proper distancing.

“Honestly I’m ready now,” Carty said. “I’m definitely ready now. I’ve been prepping this for a long time.”

He said he’s been spending money to get his space ready, investing in an air filtration system in anticipation of reopening.

But as businesses gear up, many customers may still be uneasy.

Fitness researcher Nick Rizzo is with a group called run-repeat that has surveyed 10,000 gym members around the world.

“Gym members, over half of them in America, they’re not ready to go back when gyms reopen,” he said.

Carty knows it will be slow to start but he’s looking forward to his devoted customers returning.

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