Ducey backtracks on barbers, salons being ‘essential’ amid COVID-19




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Barber shops, hair salons, day spas and tattoo parlors will all have to close for business by 5 p.m. Saturday after Gov. Doug Ducey reversed course and updated his list of essential services that can stay open during the COVID-19 emergency.

Several Democratic mayors and other critics had taken aim at Ducey over his list of essential services, saying it was too broad and lacked clarity in some areas. The list included personal hygiene services, which the governor’s office said included barber shops and salons

The stay-at-home order that Ducey issued March 30 further stated that essential services could remain open, but that they had to implement social distancing measures, as per state and federal recommendations. The order said that non-essential businesses could remain open only if they didn’t conduct on-site, in-person transactions. Critics panned his orders as both too broad and too confusing.

On Friday afternoon, Ducey issued new guidelines ordering some previously essential services, along with other amenities, to close by Saturday because they couldn’t remain open while abiding by social distancing requirements that people stay at least six feet apart. 

“During these unprecedented times, providing clarity for small businesses and employers is an important measure to ensure we protect our citizens, slow the spread of COVID-19, and protect this critical part of our economy,” Ducey said in a written statement. “As guidance from public health officials evolves, we will continue to release information and direction.”

Under the new order, barbers, hairstylists, cosmetologists, salons, tattoo parlors, spas and massage parlors must close by Saturday evening. 

Swap meets, communal swimming pools and amenities at parks such as basketball courts, splash pads, playgrounds and public restrooms must also close because they can’t remain open while upholding social distancing requirements.

Ducey’s new order specifies some businesses and amenities that can continue operating. That list includes in-home and other personal hygiene services for the disabled and other vulnerable people, respite and palliative care, hotels and motels, and daycares that serve parents who work in essential services.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, both of whom had criticized Ducey’s previous orders on essential services, lauded the new guidelines.

“Good to see Governor @dougducey take steps to narrow the list of essential services and provide clarity to local governments and businesses. This is the right move,” Romero wrote on Twitter.

Ducey’s stay-at-home order, dubbed, “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected,” also states that essential activities include “engaging in constitutionally protected activities such as speech and religion.”

During a tele-town hall hosted by Arizona PBS on Thursday, Ducey walked back his administration’s previous assertion that salons were covered by his essential services order. 

As of Friday morning, Arizona had confirmed 1,769 COVID-19 infections, with 41 confirmed deaths due to the virus, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.