Today, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced new measures the county intends to take to begin the process of opening barber shops, beauty salons and other “non-essential” retail businesses on June 1. The county executive’s announcement comes after two meetings of his recovery work group, discussions with county health officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, and input from other business and community leaders.
Anne Arundel County will become the first Maryland county to set maximum occupancy for non-essential retail businesses based on gross square footage, which has a direct relationship to safe social distancing requirements. The Phase One reopening actions announced today remain contingent on continued progress on public health metrics.
“This action allows small businesses to operate and people to get back to work, while limiting the potential spread of the virus,” Pittman said. "We all want this to succeed, so I am confident that our business owners, employees, and customers will comply with safety guidelines and help our county businesses reopen responsibly."
Non-essential businesses are currently operating under county Executive Order #21, which allows curbside pickup only. Beginning June 1, these businesses will be allowed to open to customers. The maximum number of occupants (customers and employees) will be calculated based on 150 square feet per person. Businesses will be required to have protective measures in place regarding physical distancing and face coverings will be required for everyone in the store. Specific details and guidance are being prepared by the county Department of Health and will be released next week.
CDC guidelines recommend social distancing that results in six feet between people. The area of a six-foot circle around one person is approximately 113 square feet. The 150 square foot area for non-essential retail businesses represents a reasonable margin of safety since employees and customers move throughout the store and are not spaced equally at all times.
Barbers and beauty salons are currently open for hair services only and are limited to one customer per establishment. Beginning June 1, the maximum number of occupants will be calculated based on 100 gross square feet per person due to the small footprint of many facilities and the necessity of closer personal interaction in order for services to be provided. Additional guidance and precautionary measures will be provided by the Department of Health next week.