Outdoor swimming pools can reopen Aug. 28, but need to operate under restrictions. Photo: Kershlock

Berkeleyside is sharing this message during COVID-19 from the city of Berkeley. It was released on the evening of Aug. 21 and appears below in full.

New outdoor activities to be permitted with restrictions: pools, barbers, wine tasting

Use safeguards, consider risks as COVID-19 remains a threat with no effective treatment

Certain outdoor activities — from pools to haircuts — will be allowed to open next week using COVID-19 safeguards, measures that reduce risk for lower-contact, limited duration activities during a pandemic.

Increased sanitation, limits on the total number of people, the use of appointments, verbal screening for symptoms and protective equipment are some of the required measures used for various activities permitted by a new City of Berkeley Health Officer Order, which goes into effect at 8 a.m. on Friday, Aug.t 28.

The new Health Order allows the following activities, with restrictions:

  • Outdoor pools
  • Outdoor personal care services
  • Small, outdoor practices for school and college sports
  • Live-streamed and live entertainment at vehicle-based gatherings
  • Outdoor wine tasting

Even as new activities are allowed, caution remains. There is still no effective treatment nor vaccine for COVID-19 disease. Alameda County as a whole, which includes Berkeley as an independent health jurisdiction, remains on a state monitoring list due to case rate and hospitalizations.

“This untreatable virus remains a threat,” said City of Berkeley Health Officer Dr. Lisa B. Hernandez. “Every person and every household should weigh even these newly permitted activities through the lens of risk — and what they are comfortable with.”

Safeguards every person should take

Dr. Hernandez urges everyone to continue to take precautions:

  • Your home is still the safest place to be, especially for those at high risk
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water – or use hand sanitizer as a last resort
  • Keep six feet apart from those outside your household
  • Wear a face covering when you go out

Hair salons, barbershops, and other personal care services

The updated order allows certain personal care services to resume, including haircuts, manicures, waxing and massage. Providers must perform these services outdoors and follow guidance for outdoor personal care from the California Department of Public Health.

All personal care services must be offered by appointment only, with time reserved for cleaning and disinfecting service areas between customers. Providers are required to call customers in advance of their appointments to confirm they are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and remind them to come to their appointment alone.

Both the provider and customer must wear face coverings during the appointment.

Services that would place providers in close contact with a customer’s face or require removal of face coverings — such as eyebrow waxing and threading, eyelash treatments, facials, and removal of facial hair — are still prohibited.

Outdoor swimming pools

Operators of outdoor swimming pools may also reopen, but must:

  • Limit number of swimmers in shared areas
  • Have at least one additional person, beyond a lifeguard, on duty at all times to ensure compliance with the order
  • Have sign-up or reservations to stagger use when in residential complexes with unstaffed pools.
  • Reservations and sign-ups are encouraged, but not required, for staffed pools
  • Use social distancing measures, such as closing showers, locker rooms, and saunas and limiting elements that encourage poolside gathering, such as tables and chairs
  • Require face coverings when not swimming
  • Close water slides, water rides or other attractions

City of Berkeley pools will be opening no sooner than Sept. 14.

Outdoor vehicle-based gatherings with live entertainment

Live performances will be allowed outdoors at vehicle-based gatherings.

Events can have no more than 12 personnel on-site, including only the staff and performers essential to carry out the event, which can include live-streaming.

Performers speaking, singing, or playing wind or brass instruments must be in an isolation booth and separated from others performers while speaking, singing, or playing instruments. Performers speaking, singing, or playing wind or brass instruments in an isolation booth are exempt from the Face Covering Order while performing.

All other performers must wear a face covering at all times. All performers must keep a minimum of eight feet of distance from others.

Outdoor wine tasting

Wineries may conduct outdoor wine tastings that follow state guidelines as well as the following restrictions:

  • Tastings must be by appointment only
  • Beverages must be poured by staff, who should avoid touching patrons’ glasses or bottles
  • Facilities must discontinue use of communal dump buckets, spit buckets, or other such vessels, and must provide patrons with individual, disposable containers to avoid splash contamination between guests.
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times, except when drinking or eating.
  • All indoor areas of the winery must be closed to the public, except to allow access to restrooms, hand washing facilities, quick pickup of food or other goods, or as necessary to access outdoor tasting areas. All indoor seating areas must be closed.

Everyone has a role in keeping our community safe

Increased activities and movements will lead to more COVID-19 cases. Doing so in a gradual fashion with lower-risk activities and new safeguards lessens the impact and allows health officials to monitor the effects of each phase.

“Everyone in our community holds tools to reduce spread,” said Dr. Hernandez. “Wear a face covering, wash hands frequently, keep distance from others and get tested if concerned.”