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Nail salons, massage parlors and more can reopen in Ventura County following coronavirus closures

Busy Bee Cafe owner Raymundo Sanchez serves breakfast to Cal Youngblood, 75, at the downtown Ventura restaurant on May 21.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Residents will once again be able to visit nail salons, tattoo and massage parlors and other personal-care shops in Ventura County that have long had their windows darkened due to coronavirus-related restrictions, health officials said this week.

Just because those businesses can reopen starting Friday doesn’t mean it’s back to business as usual, though.

Services such as electrolysis, waxing, makeup, piercings and facial massages can only be offered if a client can keep his or her mask on, according to county guidelines released Thursday. There’s also a 30-minute time limit on procedures conducted in confined spaces.

Wedding ceremonies are also now permitted with restrictions.

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The latest maps and charts on the spread of COVID-19 in California.

Attendance for outdoor services is capped at 100 — or potentially less depending on “what the venue can safely support,” according to the county. Those held indoors can have either up to 100 attendees or fill 25% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is less.

Parties and receptions remain a no-go.

County officials also announced that movie theaters can restart their reels on June 26.

All businesses planning to reopen must adhere to relevant social distancing and health protocols, as well as register with the county at vcreopens.com.

The announcement comes just days after the public health officer, Dr. Robert Levin, said it was possible the county may have to delay a wider reopening — citing an uptick in how many COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in the region.

“At this point, it would be foolhardy to just open up and continue to open up everything given … what our numbers are doing,” he said during Tuesday’s meeting of the county’s Board of Supervisors.

“At this point, it would be foolhardy to just open up and continue to open up,” the county’s public health officer said Tuesday.

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When Levin broached that possibility, there were 47 such hospitalizations in Ventura County. That number fell to 38 Wednesday before creeping back up to 41 Thursday.

That range is still up markedly from two weeks ago, when 25 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, but the county said its hospitalizations have now stabilized.

Also on Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all Californians to wear face coverings while in public or high-risk settings — citing concerns that too many unmasked people jeopardized “the real progress we have made in fighting the disease.”

“California’s strategy to restart the economy and get people back to work will only be successful if people act safely and follow health recommendations,” he said in a statement. “That means wearing a face covering, washing your hands and practicing physical distancing.”

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However, the matter of enforcement remains an open question. While those who violate the new requirement could be charged with a misdemeanor and potentially face a financial penalty under state law, officials have in the past focused on education and encouraging voluntary compliance.

Still, Levin — who previously eschewed requiring face coverings in the county — said he accepts the state’s directive.

“I always follow all the governor’s orders because that is the nature of the system, and I am happy to do that,” he told the Ventura County Star on Thursday.


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