Arkansas will begin to lift restrictions on beauty salons and barber shops on Wednesday, May 6.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson gave the news during his daily COVID-19 briefing on Friday. That decision also applies to all cosmetology, massage therapy, body art and medical spa facilities. The rules do not apply to beauty or cosmetology schools as they are still restricted from being open.
Hutchinson gave a list of conditions that limit how those businesses can operate initially, including safety and physical distancing requirements.
For starters, patrons must be screened to determine if they can enter a facility. Services must be postponed if a client is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, even if those symptoms are attributed to allergies.
No more than 10 people will be allowed inside a facility. For larger facilities than can accommodate many people, no more than 30% of stations can be used at one time.
Reservations are required for all services, which means no walk-in business is allowed. Also, clients cannot wait inside a facility to be served. Instead, they must wait outside or in their cars for their appointment to begin. Face coverings are required for all staff, and clients should wear masks as services permit.
“Obviously if you’re getting a facial, you’ll need to take your mask off,” said Hutchinson. “We have to be practical about that.”
He said gloves must be worn and hands must be washed before and after all services.
All businesses must set time between all appointments for cleaning of stations and supplies, and there must be six feet of distance between clients during all appointments.
Client names and contact information must be recorded and saved in case the state needs to trace individuals back to the facility.
Finally, Hutchinson said people with compromised immune systems or chronic diseases should consider staying home.
“They still maybe should be avoiding places by going out and jeopardizing their health,” he said.
In the next reopening phase, more people will be allowed inside a facility, but six-foot distancing will still apply, and face coverings will still be required. Hutchinson said officials are still determining whether walk-in services should be allowed in Phase 2. Once the state reaches Phase 3, all normal operations can resume as long as cleaning and disinfecting procedures are still in place.
Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Arkansas reached 3,321 on Friday, which is an increase of 66 since Thursday. There were three additional deaths, bringing the toll to 64.