Reopening San Diego

San Diego Mayor Faulconer Fast-Tracks Outdoor Operations for Businesses

An executive order issued by San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer allows gyms, churches, barbershops and salons to move operations to private parking lots without having to obtain permits, but some salon owners say a move outdoors isn't feasible

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San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer signed an executive order that will allow more businesses to move their operations outdoors. The order, which went into effect immediately, allows businesses to move outside to conduct business -- without having to obtain a permit.

“Effective immediately, gyms and places of worship can operate in private parking lots,” Faulconer said on Monday.

The mayor made his announcement at a children’s day camp in Miramar, with children enrolled in the camp standing outside in a parking lot behind him and other city officials during his appearance.

The order also applies to barbershops and salons, pending regulatory clearance from the state.

The city’s director of development services said the order could impact 4,000 San Diego businesses. The move outdoors, however, could be problematic for a number of reasons, one being a question of parking space availability.

“It is a balance business decision," said Elise Lowe, development services director for the city of San Diego. "In a strip mall, where there’s shared parking, businesses are going to have to come together and talk about what’s the best use of space,”

Meanwhile, many salon owners said that moving their operations outside won't work.

“While we appreciate the effort, it’s not realistic to be working outside in the beauty industry,” said Austin Campbell, managing partner of Sola Salons.

Campbell pointed to a number of reasons salons and beauticians can’t work outside.

“It’s summer and hot outside," Campbell said. "The majority of our beauty professionals do use chemicals, aka hair color, in order to make a living and work on their clients, and outside in the heat completely changes the way hair color processes."

More businesses in San Diego will be taking their services outdoors due to ongoing restrictions.

Campbell also said that shampoo bowls would not be able to be moved outside and that extension cords for power supplies could present a hazard. In addition, the wind could impact haircuts and moving outside could mean liability insurance would no longer be valid.

Campbell said a move outdoors is also problematic given the extra attention stylists give to sanitation.

“All licensed hairdressers in the state of California have to spend 1,600 hours at school, and over 50% of that is strictly sanitation, cleanliness and how to keep themselves and clients safe,” Campbell said.

Campbell said there are 600 employees at Sola's 15 San Diego county locations, and that since the COVID outbreak, three have tested positive for the virus. No customers have been impacted, he added.

Campbell said that he and other local salon owners are working to petition the state and county in an effort to continue indoor operations.

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