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Personal care industries forced to put reopenings on hold in Santa Barbara County

Spa owner worry about delayed reopening
Santa Barbara and Cielo spa owners
Tracy Lehr / KEYT

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- The self-care industry is big business or was big business in Santa Barbara County until the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

County supervisors and public health officials had toyed with reopening nail salons, tattoo parlors, spas and other personal care businesses on Friday, but the Emergency Operations Center issued a statement on Wednesday evening that said, "The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department will not move forward in reopening expanded personal care service industries at this time. The California Department of Public Health issued guidance on June 12, 2020 for these industries, stating that reopening can be implemented only with County Health Officer approval following a review of local epidemiological data."

Supervisor Gregg Hart said the Public Health Department and Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg will evaluate the data and make a decision when they have confidence in the numbers.

The hospitalization numbers are posing the problem for the re-openings.

The county needs hospitalization numbers to remain stable before allowing more businesses to reopen.

The county reported hospitalizations up by more than 30 percent over a three day period. They said it should not exceed 10 percent.

Cielo Spa boutique owner Roxanne Zbinden has been in business on State Street for 14 years.

"It is just so much anxiety and stress and there are just some days I want to cry because I feel like I am going to lose my business over this," said Zbinden.

The single mom is not alone.

Her friend Shelby McKaig-Rowe owns Santa Barbara Spa on upper State Street.

"It is frustrating, too, because we are following all the rules, and people will go find someone who will do it illegally. So I almost feel like it is crazy, you just lose either way, " said McKaig-Rowe.

She thinks the state and county don't grasp what licensed estheticians are trained to do. She said they don't just do facials. They do hair removal, light therapy and offer skin care regimens, and tanning services, too.

The spa owners said they were the last to close and now it appears they maybe the last to reopen.

Zbinden just painted the walls of her rented space and is now worried about paying more rent without assistance.

Both businesswomen said they have waiting lists of clients wishing to return as soon as they get the okay to reopen.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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