Bay Area Businesses Taking Services Outdoors to Comply With State's COVID-19 Order

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The new state order means many indoor businesses have to close, especially gyms, barber shops, and hair and nail salons.

Health officials said it is time for industries to get more creative if they hope to stay in business during the pandemic.

In Martinez, Rose's Barbership is no longer buzzing with business after it was ordered to close all indoor operations by the state. But the shop owner Juan Carlos Serrano has an idea to keep the business running.

"Let's just take it outdoors," Serrano said. "If restaurants can do it, we can follow the same procedures as well."

Serrano has already talked to city leaders and is asking the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology to consider amending its code, which currently prohibits outdoors services.

The board on Tuesday provided the following statement to NBC Bay Area:

"As directed by the governor, these personal care services must be closed. The law - in the Business and Professions Code - states that all barbering and cosmetology services must be performed in a licensed establishment. Therefore, these types of businesses in the required counties must be closed immediately.

In addition, the board is concerned about Cal/OSHA regulation and heat prevention and safety during these summer months. There are a lot of safety and sanitation concerns to consider - and we are looking deeply at this question and exploring options going forward."

Contra Costa County's top health official said in the age of COVID-19 it's time for industries to think creatively. Contra Costa County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Rohan Radhakrishna said it is clear that taking things outside is safer.

"When you're outdoors there's more air circulation, there's less enclosures and chances for particles of the virus to stay around longer," he said. "Less surfaces for it to stay on."

Restaurant owner Molly Tou is also thinking outside the box. Her patio space is limited, but she just got approval from the City of Fairfield to add a tent to her parking lot. The city just passed an emergency ordinance that makes it possible.

"If I did have extended seating into the patio we could accommodate customers and keep our business going," Tou said.

Meanwhile, the City of Martinez recently started closing off downtown streets some evenings so restaurants can have more outdoor space to serve customers.

Serrano hopes he will get the green light to move his barber chairs on the street or sidewalk too.

"Where there's a will there's a way," Serrano said. "I'll use a generator, find extension cords. We'll make it happen."

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