During Covid-19, pretty much every outdoor activity posed safety concerns and came with a high level of risk, especially that haircut you so desperately wanted.
Now with curbs eased in Singapore and many salons operational, chances are you are all set to get back on the chair for a quick snip. But is getting a haircut safe during Covid-19 pandemic?
Is Getting a Haircut Safe During Covid 19 Pandemic?
Most people have this question on their minds, especially after the recent Atatcutz Singapore cluster that recorded eight cases as of Monday (June 7).
According to MOH, the cluster included five employees from the Bedok branch and it has been closed until June 15, for deep cleaning and disinfection.
Following the emergence of the cluster, the Hair and Cosmetology Association Singapore (HACOS) is hoping for earlier vaccination and more regulations for front-line workers in the wellness sector.
But here’s the biggest challenge: about 60 percent of the workers in the industry are non-Singaporeans and require their employers to arrange for their vaccination. Also, about 60 percent are also under 40 years and they are not eligible for vaccination yet.
So, it is obvious that you may be hesitant of visiting a hair salon at the risk of getting infected by your hairdresser.
Is Getting a Haircut Safe During Covid 19 Pandemic? What Are The Risks?
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Two of the primary factors that affect your risk of contracting COVID-19 in a social setting are: time you spend at the place with another person and the type of space, points Emily Sickbert-Bennett, PhD, director of UNC Medical Center Infection Prevention.
Experts suggest that it’s also important that mask etiquette is followed by the barber and other people in the salon. And that there is adequate ventilation in the room to disperse airborne droplets.
So yes, there is high risk of COVID-19 infection in hair salons even with all safety precautions in place.
In an interview with Medcity news, Dr Anthony Fauci last year had shared his views about getting a haircut during COVID. He said, “It depends. I used to get a haircut every five weeks. I get a haircut every 12 weeks now — with a mask on me, as well as a mask on the person who’s cutting the hair, for sure.”
This Is The One Thing That Can Prevent Covid-19 Infection
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Public health experts advise against prolonged time with people outside of your household as coronavirus is mostly transmitted via close contact. Epidemiologists, however, feel that proper protective equipment and safety precautions can ensure the virus is not transmitted if you need to be near others.
For instance, wearing masks was credited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for the two cases in which the infected hair stylists did not pass on the coronavirus to their clients.
Erin Bromage, a biology professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth explains, “You must wear a mask at all times when you are in the salon chair. It’s possible to hold your mask to your face while your hair is washed or cut. There are plenty of ways to do this. But taking a mask off and being indoors for an extended period is the best way to become infected.”
Is Getting a Haircut Safe During Covid 19 Pandemic: 7 Safety Tips
If you plan to step out to get a haircut, here are the safety precautions you must take:
1. Wear your mask: Make sure to wear a mask during your service. This also means avoiding services that would require you to open your masks. As Dr Emily Sickbert-Bennett, PhD, director of UNC Medical Center Infection Prevention was quoted as saying, “We can one day return to these activities if we all commit to mask use now.”
2. Minimise the time spent at the salon: For instance, if you want to go for a haircut, you can wash your hair at home and then just go for a quick snip at the salon. Try to limit your sitting to an hour at the max and head back home.
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3. Maintain good hand hygiene: Always carry your sanitiser with you. Make sure to use it every time you touch a surface, for instance, the salon doorknob or the chair. Wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you get home.
4. Online payment: You can pay by tapping your credit card to minimise the source of contamination.
5. Visit a salon that follows the guidelines: Go to a salon that adheres to safety norms. For instance, taking temperature checks, and trying to eliminate time in the waiting room by allowing clientele to remain in their cars until the staff is ready. Also, check if there are deep cleaning regiments between clients.
6. Sterilisation process: Tools such as nail clippers, combs, brushes, and a pair of scissors must be sterilised properly. They should be used only on one client per sterilisation. After every hair cut, the tools need to be sterilised again. See to it, that the salon is giving you a fresh towel.
7. Rethink the need, if possible: Finally, before making an appointment, check if you can wait. Stay at home if you are sick to avoid the risk of spreading the infection to others.
As Singapore plans to open up in two phases after domestic transmission of the infections slowed and the new coronavirus cases declined, it is important to be alert!
From June 14 onwards, authorities will allow up to five people to gather, from two currently. As per the new guidelines, restaurants will be allowed to resume dine-in services from June 21, if the virus remains under control.
At this crucial juncture, it is important to adhere to all the COVID protocols and not let our guards down.