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On Friday, Aug. 21, Alameda County issued health officer orders to reopen outdoor swimming pools and outdoor hair salons, nail salons, barbershops, waxing services, skin care and non-medical massages.

These orders exclude services that may require a client to remove their face covering, as well as eyebrow threading and waxing and eyelash treatments. Tattoos, piercings and electrolysis are not allowed to operate indoors or outdoors in alignment with the State of California’s Health Officer Orders issued on July 13.

Additionally, wineries in Alameda County can now offer outdoor tastings by appointment without needing to provide food. In alignment with the state’s orders, this change does not apply to bars, breweries, pubs or brewpubs.

Guidance for operation of outdoor personal services, outdoor pools and other industries and businesses that have reopened during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here: http://bit.ly/Indy_HealthOrder. All businesses must complete a Site-Specific Protection Plan. Protocols and procedures to protect customers and employees from COVID-19 must be in place when businesses reopen.

It’s critical for residents and business owners to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. Alameda County is taking a step forward in its reopening plan, but hospitalizations and daily case numbers remain high.

“These outdoor activities we are allowing to reopen are relatively low risk, but whenever we increase opportunities for people to mix, we see an increase in cases,” said Dr. Nicholas Moss, Alameda County’s Interim Health Officer. “Simple actions — wearing a face covering, washing your hands often, and staying six feet away from people outside your home — protect everyone. As we continue to experience poor air quality, there is no better time to stay home as much as possible.”

The orders will not go into effect until Friday, Aug. 28, due to wildfire smoke, which is contributing to unhealthy air quality across Alameda County. To check your local air quality rating, visit https://www.airnow.gov/ and enter your zip code. If possible, stay inside with windows and doors closed until smoke levels subside and if temperatures allow. Air conditioning or car vents should be set to “recirculate.” Cloth and surgical masks used to protect against COVID-19 provide very little protection against smoke and are not a replacement for staying inside.

Schools Must Continue Distance Learning

Schools must not open for in-school instruction while Alameda County has high numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and remains on the state’s county monitoring list. The health officer orders clarify that schools must continue distance learning until such time that local indicators support reopening, even if the county meets the state’s criteria for reopening schools by coming off the monitoring list for 14 days.

Reopening for in-school instruction will be subject to guidance issued by the state and the county’s health officer. An exception is included in the orders for children and youth residential settings, such as psychiatric health facilities, juvenile detention facilities or crisis housing units.

Alameda County is not accepting elementary school waivers currently. The public health department is developing parameters and requirements that must be in place, so Alameda County and schools are prepared to respond to possible COVID-19 exposures and cases associated with a school site.

In the coming weeks, guidance on the operation of out-of-school time extracurricular programs will be shared with schools and community organizations. Stable groups of no more than 14 children will be allowed to come together for extracurricular activities, but the program will be asked to certify they are not conducting in-person instruction.

“While Alameda County remains on the state’s monitoring list, no school should be open for in-classroom instruction. We recognize the vital importance of classroom learning for children and youth, but we must take a slow and measured approach,” said Dr. Moss. “All schools should actively prepare for when students, teachers and staff return. When schools do reopen, strong safety measures like outbreak response protocols will be necessary to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

In partnership with the Alameda County Public Health Department, the Alameda County Office of Education offers COVID-19 guidance on planning for school reopening.