Friday, August 14, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 24

Santa Maria Sun / Spotlight

The following article was posted on July 29th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 22 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 21, Issue 22

Local barber shops, hair salons adapt to changing state regulations to slow the spread of COVID-19


When Alberto Licerio learned he would have to close his barber shop in Orcutt again only about a month after reopening, he was shocked. 

Old Orcutt Barber Shop adapts to changing state regulations that allow the business to operate outdoors.

He is the owner and one of three barbers who work at Old Orcutt Barber Shop. Following California health orders aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, Licerio initially closed the business in mid-March and reopened in June under strict guidelines from the state.

All barbers and customers in the shop had to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart at all times. The shop could no longer take walk-in clients, which Licerio said was contrary to how the shop has operated for the 11 years he’s owned it, and customers could not enter the building prior to their appointment. 

“Getting used to the appointment thing was a little bit different,” Licerio said. “It slowed down business.”

But the shop abided by these rules, and others the state implemented, until July 13 when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced barbershops and other personal care services would have to close in certain counties, including Santa Barbara County, that are failing to meet metrics the state has developed to monitor the spread of the virus.

“When the news came out that we weren’t allowed to open up, that was a shocker and it was frustrating,” Licerio said. “We just got open, everything is going good, and now we’re shut down.”

A week later, the situation changed again. On July 20, the California Department of Public Health issued guidelines detailing how barber shops and hair salons could operate outdoors. 

“It’s a roller coaster of emotions because you hear bad news then a little good news,” Licerio said. “You’re waiting in limbo, wondering what’s next.”

The shop took advantage of this change in regulations and has set up two stations outside, one in the back and one in the front of the shop, where customers can get their hair cut.

Licerio said it’s a bit different cutting hair outside where he has to deal with the wind and sun, compared to the controlled environment inside the shop, but nonetheless he’s happy to be able to work and make a living. Plus the shop switched to all cordless appliances a few years ago, so there’s no issues with lengthy extension cords tripping up clients.

Services at the shop haven’t changed too much, although the barbers can’t offer beard shaving or trimming services because all customers must wear a mask. Licerio said these services are a good portion of the business, but the new regulations don’t limit the barber shop on the same level as hair salons. 

The state’s guidelines prohibit shampooing, coloring, dyeing, bleaching, and other chemical hair services because of the inability to ensure the chemicals would be drained properly, according to a memorandum from the California Department of Consumer Affairs.

Bambie Padilla, one of the owners of Coiffure Society Salon—which opened in June on Skyway Drive—said these chemical services that are prohibited make up about 90 percent of the salon’s business. 

“Everybody gets chemical services followed by a haircut,” Padilla said. “I rarely have a client that’s just a haircut.”

Padilla said the salon is in the process of setting up an outdoor station where stylists can serve customers, but with these restrictions in place, she’s unsure of how busy the salon will be.  

“We’re all homeowners,” Padilla said. “We don’t get to not pay our mortgage or pay our rent in the salon. It’s an unfortunate situation.”


• Tracy Beard, the executive director of the Solvang Chamber of Commerce, is one of six women to win the Congressional Women of the Year Award from U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal’s (D-Santa Barbara) office. In addition to her work with the chamber, Beard serves as the president of the Association California Commission for Women and as a board member of TVSB, according to a news release from Carbajal’s office.

• The city of Santa Maria is looking for input from residents as the jurisdiction begins the multi-year process of updating its general plan, which is a guiding document that outlines city policies. Visit to learn more about the project and participate in a survey. 

Staff Writer Zac Ezzone wrote this week’s Spotlight. Send tips to

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