May 26 (UPI) -- Hair salons and barbershops in jurisdictions that meet specific health criteria will be allowed to reopen for business, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday, furthering easing restrictions in the first state to issue sweeping stay-at-home orders.
California has been easing out of restrictions put in place mid-March to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and is currently in phase two of Newsom's four-phase reopening plan, allowing retail stores and certain industries to resume operation. Over the weekend, restrictions on retailers and places of worship were further eased, permitting in-store shopping and churches, mosques and synagogues to welcome congregants.
The modifications to guidelines on Tuesday were on "a regional basis" instead of statewide, Newsom said during a coronavirus update, explaining 47 of California's 58 counties have "self-attested" to meeting the state's health metrics to allow for hair salons and barbershops to reopen "with meaningful modifications," including mandating facemasks and following sanitary procedures.
According to the state's website, the metrics for reopening under phase two include having fewer than 25 new cases per 100,000 residents in the previous 14 days or less than 8 percent testing positive in the past week, among other criteria.
The United States has been the hardest-hit nation from the virus accounting for more than 1.6 million of the nearly 5.6 million infections worldwide, and California is one of the hardest-hit states with more than 99,000 cases.
Gavin said the state has been improving and more modifications to guidelines will be coming in the next few days and weeks, with more information to be dispersed on Wednesday concerning summer camps, child care facilities and schools.
"We're making progress, we're moving forward, we're not looking back but we are walking into the unknown -- the untested, literally and figurately -- and we have to be guided by the data that brought us here in the first place," he said.
The easing comes amid criticism leveled at the Democratic governor over his measures from both the Trump administration and Republicans as well as the beauty industry.
Two weeks ago, the Professional Beauty Federation of California filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the ban on salons and barbershops, accusing the state's measures of violating its members' constitutional rights.
Last Wednesday, the Justice Department informed Gavin his plan to reopen the state violated the Constitution for discriminating against places of worship, though an appeals court ruled to uphold the ban on Friday in a court case brought against the state by the South Bay United Pentecostal Church.
On Sunday, several Republican groups sued the state over Newsom's executive order to allow Californians to vote by mail in November general election.