Despite High COVID Hospitalization Rate, Personal Care Businesses to Reopen

Additional Santa Barbara County Resident Has Died from COVID-19

The county's health official, Dr. Henning Ansorg, gave the go-ahead for personal care businesses to open on Friday in Santa Barbara County. | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

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Despite the rising COVID-19 hospitalization rate in Santa Barbara County, personal care businesses such as nail salons or spas will be permitted to reopen with social-distancing protocols. 

County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg issued the order Thursday, and it will go into effect 8 a.m. Friday. This comes six days after he said at a press conference that clinicians working in area hospitals begged him via over phone and text saying, “Dude, do something. We are really concerned here. Don’t open anything anymore.” 

Hospitalizations have decreased by six people since that press conference, according to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard. There are 61 people hospitalized for COVID-19 and one additional death — putting the toll at 28 — as of Thursday when the health order was issued. The deceased individual resided in Santa Barbara and was over 70 years of age. 

The order allows for the following businesses, as well as others in the sector, to reopen with social-distancing modifications:

  • Esthetician services
  • Skin care and cosmetology services
  • Electrology (permanent hair removal)
  • Nail salons
  • Body art professionals
  • Tattoo parlors
  • Piercing shops
  • Massage therapy (including non-healthcare settings)
  • Other businesses offering facials, electrolysis, and waxing

There are 2,631 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county at the time the new order is taking effect. Of those, 992 are inmates at Lompoc Federal Prison, and 1,639 are cases in the community. Of those, 2,106 have fully recovered. Of the 61 people recovering in a hospital, 22 are in an intensive care unit.

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