Salon or spa services like blowouts or line-ups, mani-pedis, or full-body massages don’t happen without the kind of close proximity to others that increases Covid-19 risk. Coronavirus spreads when infected people cough, sneeze or talk and others breathe in those droplets, or when virus accumulates in or flows through the air. People can also contract coronavirus from contaminated surfaces, but this mode of transmission is less common, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
When you went to salons or spas before the pandemic, you might have been able to relax for as long as you wanted. “Unfortunately, we’re a little bit longer away from the way we think about” these experiences, said Regina Davis Moss, the associate executive director of health policy and practice at the American Public Health Association. “It’s really about going in to get the service more so than it is the experience … I think if we focus on just getting the service and trying to do that as quickly as possible — trying to minimize our risk — we will be a lot better.”
Vaccinated people are at much lower risk of contracting or spreading coronavirus. Since unvaccinated people remain unprotected, both groups need to take the following precautions in most situations.Before you make an appointment at a salon or spa, call the business or check its website to make sure the staff is following CDC guidelines for beauty salons and barbershops, or similar guidance of the government local to the business. Recommended safety precautions — for staff and customers — include constant mask-wearing, physical distancing as much as possible and cleaning between each customer.
Hair salons should be cleaning the following items between each client, the CDC has said: styling chairs, hair-washing sinks, payment equipment, chair covers, salon capes and any other tools used to clean and style hair. The CDC has also recommended that staff set up physical barriers between workers where possible.
Nail salons, too, should be sanitizing chairs, countertops, tables, nail lamps and any other frequently touched surfaces — such as nail polishes used — between customers. Some nail salons might have set up plastic screens between nail technicians and customers, said Dr. Ada Stewart, a family physician with Cooperative Health in Columbia, South Carolina, and the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
At spas, massages tables should be cleaned between each guest, and other items — such as changing areas and robes — as much as possible. Employees of any of these businesses should wash their hands at least before and after each client, cleaning and work breaks.
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