Gov. Newsom introduces tiered system and reopens hair salons

Ray Dean, Reporter

Hair, during the COVID-19 pandemic, has gone untrimmed, revealing roots, and highlighting the impact statewide shutdowns have had on the State of California. Hair may begin to take on a new look. Starting Monday, Aug. 31, barbershops, hair salons, and shopping malls statewide were allowed to resume indoor operations. However, these businesses can only operate at 25% capacity while maintaining social distancing and face mask guidelines. 

In a press briefing on Friday, Aug. 28, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s new “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” along with a newly designed website,, where county-specific information can be found.  

“COVID-19 will be with us for a long time, and we need to adapt,” Newsom said in a press briefing.  

In an attempt to streamline and simplify the criteria for businesses and industries to reopen, the blueprint replaces the states county monitoring list which contained 58 different sets of rules.  

Newsom noted several times during the briefing that while the tiered system may be simpler, it will be a slow and stringent process nonetheless. 

The new system measures two metrics, the number of new cases per 100,000 residents in the county, and test positivity rates to determine initial placement and movement within four tiers.  

Newsom said these tiers will be color-coded for simplicity and labeled as Widespread (purple), Substantial (red), Moderate (orange), and Minimal (yellow).  

Paige Atkison

Restrictions on businesses relax as counties move down the tiered structure.  

Counties must move tier-by-tier. They cannot, for instance, move from the Widespread tier to the Moderate tier. If the metrics go up, counties will be moved up to a stricter tier.  

According to the state’s new website, Kern County along with 37 other counties in the state was initially placed in the Widespread tier, the strictest of the four. Many non-essential businesses must remain closed under this designation, although barbershops, hair salons, and shopping malls are allowed to reopen.  

Counties must wait at least 21 days before moving from one tier to a lower one and they are also required to maintain the lower tier’s metrics for two straight weeks before a new designation. Once a county is given a Substantial tier designation K-12 schools are allowed to reopen provided they meet school reopening guidelines outlined on July 17.  

For those hoping to escape the first few weeks of distance learning and celebrate Labor Day by going to an amusement park, concert, or sporting event, this tiered system does not address those issues. Newsom said that large gathering events are a separate issue and discussions are still ongoing as to when and how those will be reopened. A trip to the salon or the mall may have to serve as a substitute.