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This is How to Safely Get a Haircut During Coronavirus

This is How to Safely Get a Haircut During Coronavirus

When will hair salons reopen and how do I stay safe if I decide to go?

Hair salons have been closed for months now—leaving us all with shaggy appearances, botched home haircuts, and grey roots. While some folks dared to do a virtual, professional-led cut at home, and others enlisted grandma, many are suffering from the Tarzan look (which my kids are currently sporting). It's no wonder that so many people are eagerly awaiting the reopening of salons. Hair salons and barber shops will reopen on Long Island and in Westchester when the regions enter Phase Two, which is set to happen the week of June 9. (NYC is set to enter Phase One on June 6). When they open, is it safe to go and what are some of the safety precautions you and your stylist can take when it's time?

Should I go to the hair salon when it opens?

When salons do open, it will be a personal choice whether or not to frequent them. The close contact between stylist and client presents a risk because COVID19 spreads through the respiratory droplets it produces. Even if the stylist or client is asymptomatic, the virus can still be transmitted. 

In an interview with Today, infectious disease epidemiologist Saad Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, says that the coronavirus could likely live on hair, but not for a prolonged period of time. "Viruses survive for lesser durations on porous surfaces, such as hair, than smooth surfaces, such as stainless steel," which can harbor the virus for up to three days, he says.

If you’ve decided that the risks are worthwhile, it’s important to take all the standard safety precautions when you go in:

  • Wear a high-quality mask (one that goes around your ears and not around the back of your head for easy access to your hair).
  • Call ahead to your salon and ask what measures they are taking to stay safe. (Are they disinfecting chairs, door handles and waiting rooms? How many people are they letting in at one time?)

RELATED: The Ultimate Family Guide to Safe Fun in New York this Summer

What will salons do to keep my family safe?

There are some guidelines already in place for New York salons to safely open: Governor Andrew Cuomo has released recommended best practices and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) also recommends specific procedures. These include:

  • Cutting down on the number of customers who are in the shop at any time (they must operate at 50 percent capacity or less)
  • Asking clients to come alone (not with partners or children)
  • Having stylists stand behind the client at all times, in order to limit face-to-face interaction
  • Having stylist wear a face shield or mask
  • Having stylists carry a towel, so that they can cover their nose, mouth, and mask if they get the urge to sneeze or cough
  • Eliminating the waiting area and taking clients directly to workstations, so they don't unnecessarily touch or breathe on surfaces and magazines
  • Making workstations at least six feet apart
  • Stylists cleaning their hands and their work areas frequently
  • Having salons rely solely on cashless payment
  • Not allowing clients to bring in handbags (only phones and a form of payment) 
  • Performing temperature checks using an infrared thermometer before the client enters the salon
  • Performing temperature checks on employees and wearing a sticker or button proving they have passed

Some salons like the Astoria-based Natura Spa plan to provide the client with her own paper or plastic cape, a mask and a hairbrush. Also, some salons open in other states have stopped offering blow dry services, due to fear that the virus could be spread more easily through the air. 

All of these restrictions might make the experience a little less luxurious. But it’s safety first these days, and you’ll be grateful when you walk out with a clean cut regardless of if the experience is not what you're used to.

RELATED: This is How to Safely Play Tennis this Summer


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Shana Liebman


Shana Liebman is the features editor of NYMP. She’s a writer and editor who has worked for magazines including New York MagazineSalon, and Travel & Leisure—and she is the mom of two energetic little boys.

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