By: David M. Higgins II, Publisher

UPDATE 4/20/2020

The Office of Legal Counsel for the State of Maryland has filed another interprerative guide regarding barbershops and salons providing services for essential employees.

The business must provide service to a verified essential employee that has proof of standards required.

The employee and client must wear face coverings except when needed to perform the service on the client.

OLC Interpretive Guidance C… by David M. Higgins II on Scribd

If you cannot read the document embedded here, please click this link: OLC Interpretive Guidance COVID19-11

UPDATE 4/18/2020

Maryland- After a petition was organized and a St. Mary’s County Commissioner went on Facebook Live, confusion turned to calls of “Fake News”, “Socialism”, and many more.

Commissioner John O’Connor, representing District 3 on the St. Mary’s County Board of Commissioners posted three total videos and an image post about Barbershops/Salons/Spas being allowed to conduct one on one services. Those videos and posts were removed after individuals watching them flagged them as “Fake News“. Those posts/videos are now currently under review by Facebook and could take weeks due to less staff working at this time and being able to manually review posts. The Chronicle has dealt with this when it comes to monetizing our Instant Articles on Facebook.

Commissioner O’Connor then contacted Steve Schuh, Executive Director for the State of Maryland and Former Anne Arundel County Executive who supplied the following response:

Editors Note: Phone Number and Email Address were omitted. Please use the guide on the Maryland Government website for official contact info.

Even after this, people still screamed Fake News. Many posted on the videos and posts that further orders by the Governor superseded(March 30, 2020) or nullified the exemption.

Now, the Office of Legal Counsel(OLC) has gone further to explain the Executive Orders signed by Governor Larry Hogan.

In the newest Interpreaptive Guide, The OLC states that the guidance presented in #COVID19-01 remained valid even after Governor Hogan signed the Stay at Home Order.

We spoke with Commissioner O’Connor this morning, and he said, “I recently saw a petition being floated about opening barbershops and Salons. At first, I couldn’t understand why this was required when what appeared to be clear guidance under COVID 19-01 Legal Interpretation from the Governor’s Office of legal counsel that was not superseded. After communicating with local and State officials it became evidently apparent that there was somewhat of a disconnect. However, it was nothing that wasn’t easily fixed.

“I emailed and spoke with the Andrew Fulginiti, Policy Officer, Department of Labor, Director Steve Schuh, Executive Director State COVID19, and many other State and Local Officials, ” he continued.

“Dir. Schuh worked diligently with all parties to find the correct guidance and interpretation from the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel which has been sent out now to all of the involved State Agencies, Delegates, and Senators this is to include but not limited to DLLR, Maryland Board of Barbers, and local and State law enforcement. We now have solid backing on the legal interpretation that allows establishments to open, and ensures people will not lose their licenses for provided services not at a certified establishment such as their home or Someone else’s home. While there is plenty of misinformation out there in these uncertain times I ensured that all due diligence was done to ensure the right information was received and distributed.”

“My deepest thanks to all those who helped facilitate this and ensure our people have to most up to date and accurate information,” he said.

“Please be responsible and ensure you are following strict CDC Guidelines, wearing the required PPE, and practicing proper social distancing when required. Those shops serving essential personnel are to strictly adhere to the CDC/MDH guidelines.,” O’Connor finished up with.

This means the Barbershops/Salons/Spas CAN provide one on one service at their facility or mobile(if allowed) and by appointment. They cannot open the facility to the public and can only have one chair available to meet the one on one requirement. They are required to provide and maintain a proper disinfecting procedure in all areas that they and the customers enter( register area, cutting area, wash area, bathroom).

The customer and stylist MUST adhere to the Governor’s order of Personal Protection Equipment(PPE). This means both individuals must be in masks, gloves, and wear protective eyewear. Furthermore, once the service is done, the business MUST disinfect the entire area used BEFORE allowing the next customer to proceed. You CANNOT have a person waiting in your waiting area, they must be outside of the building.

If you are performing your service in someones home you will not lose your license for it and, you must adhere to the same guidelines of PPE. If you have a mobile vehicle, you follow the guidelines as having a brick and motor facility. Traveling to a person home would require them to disinfect after you leave, however you would still do your standard cleaning as before.

Any instance of performing this act requires you still follow your licensed mandated disinfecting of equipment.

Although you are ALLOWED to do this, you are still doing it at your own discretion, and can still contract the virus. Barbers and Stylists need to weigh the options, but you do have the option.

If you cannot view the Scribd embedded order, please click here: Update to OLC Interpretive Guidance COVID19-01(Maryland)

Below is the first Interpretive Guide:

If you cannot view this embedded document, please click here: OLC Interpretive Guidance COVID19 01

Maryland(4/16/2020)- A recent petition surfaced that dealt with allowing licensed beauty professionals to provide one-on-one service to clients. As of this writing, it has 4,335 of the 5,000 signatures needed to submit the petition.

However, after Governor Hogan issued an Executive Order on March 16, 2020 restricting large gatherings, and closes businesses, the Office of Legal Counsel provided more guidance on what the order allowed and disallowed.

Number 6 on the interpretive guide concerning Barbershops, Hair Salons, and certain private spas states,” The Order does not require the closure of spas providing one-on-one services in a private setting (e.g., massages), barber shops, or hair salons. These establishments should monitor and follow all applicable guidance from the CDC, MDH, and OSHA regarding environmental cleaning and disinfection of rooms and equipment.”

In accordance with the Executive Order and interpreted by the Office of Legal Counsel, Licensed Barbers, Hairdressers, and stylists can provide one-on-one services at their facility as long as they are following guidance from the CDC, Maryland Department of Health and OSHA.

This does not mean they can open their doors and let customers walk-in. It will require the Salon/Barber to conduct one-on-one services with proper social distancing. This service can be provided to individuals who have an essential job and the job requires professional grooming standards.

Commissioner John O’Connor recently did a Facebook Live video that goes into more detail from the officials he spoke with directly.

You can view the video here:

This video is no longer available. Some individuals watching the video flagged it as “Fake News”. Facebook is reviewing it at this time.

If you cannot view the document, you can read it here: OLC Interpretive Guidance COVID19 01

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...