NH Task Force approves cosmetology, body art, lodging and childcare guidelines

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Tattoo artists are back in action. Photo/THOR/Wikimedia Commons

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New Hampshire’s Economic Reopening Task Force unanimously approved new guidelines for the cosmetology and body art industries, as well as amendments to child care guidelines and drafted lodging guidelines today.

The approved guidelines will be sent to the Division of Public Health Services and Governor Chris Sununu for approval before being fully implemented.

The governor is expected to address some of the newly passed guidelines in a press conference later today.

The new guidance documents are posted on the state’s COVID update page  including universal guidelines PDF File, and been provided new, flexed guidance to operate under:

Cosmetology, Barbering and Esthetics Services

All clients and employees must wear cloth face covering when in a facility, even if an employee is alone. Clients must be pre-screened 24 hours before a scheduled cosmetology visit to check for COVID-19 symptoms. Salons cannot use blow dryers or hooded dryers. The number of clients in a facility should not exceed the number of employees.

The committee voted to amend an earlier guideline which stated that cosmetology and esthetics appointments could not exceed one hour, a guideline that many callers in the earlier public comment session took issue with. 

Body Art

Tattoo artists must wear a cloth face covering, in addition to a face shield or medical safety goggles and gloves when performing services, a provision Sen. Ed Butler (D-Carroll) called “excessive.”

“It will likely get in the way of the body art practitioner being able to perform their activities comfortably and successfully and safely,” Butler said. 

Sami Monoxelos, a tattooist in Derry, who called in to the public comment session before the task force met, agreed.

“I believe that the mandatory usage of goggles and face shields just is not going to help us. I know going around to Market Basket and such with a face mask on gets me really claustrophobic, gets you really hot, and I would hate to see tattoo artists passing out on their clients because they can’t breathe,” she said.

Butler also clarified that the one-hour limit on appointments was not a provision that was included in body art guidelines.

Lodging Guidance

New Hampshire will join Vermont and Maine in allowing out-of-state lodging guests to stay at hotels, motels, B&B’s and cabins so long as they have met a 14-day quarantine requirement. Guests who are staying in lodging facilities must provide either New Hampshire identification or signed document attesting to the requirement.

Lodging facilities will also be limited to 50 percent capacity and close common areas.

In the earlier public comment session, many in the lodging industry across New Hampshire were concerned that limiting out-of-state guests and further delaying opening could be a major blow to the industry.

The committee, in its drafted guidelines, called for lodging to open today. Sununu is expected to address this in a press conference later this afternoon.

Child care

The committee voted unanimously to approve updated child care guidance that addressed concerns among child care workers across the state. 

Instead of being required, face coverings will be now recommended among child care providers and staff. Groups of 10 in facilities will remain, but child care facilities can also now divide a larger room to accommodate additional groups so long as the room has enough square footage.

“We don’t want child care providers to have to remove kids from the class or have to shut down,” D.J. Bettencourt, chair of the task force, said.

The previous version of the guidelines, which required face masks and limited a cohort of 10 children per room, worried child care providers like Samantha Baldini, owner of the Goddard schools in Derry and Nashua.

“While as a society we are concerned about germs and keeping distance, we have to accept that small groups are acceptable in a childcare environment, but six feet of distance is not. Childcare should be a safe haven, not a holding cell,” Baldini said. “Why try to fix something that was not broken?”

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