As governors begin to reopen states across the country, salon visits are starting to pick back up. Haircuts, in particular, became a focal point of anti-lockdown protests in states across the country, including Michigan and Wisconsin. As CNN reports, not one, but two hairstylists in Missouri have potentially exposed more than 100 customers to the coronavirus when they were at work this month. Contact tracing is a small saving grace here, but the big-picture concern of reopening certain services too early remains.
First, one hairstylist at a Great Clips salon in Springfield, Missouri, potentially exposed 84 customers, as well as seven coworkers, to the virus, as reported on Friday. Then, as the Springfield-Green Health Department announced on Saturday, a second hairstylist at the same location tested positive for the virus. That stylist may have exposed up to 56 customers. Though officials did not elaborate on the health state either stylist was in at the time of the test, the second stylist reportedly did work at the salon while having “very mild symptoms.”
Customers who were directly exposed will be contacted by health officials and will have the opportunity to be tested for the virus for free. The stylists and customers reportedly did wear face coverings, according to Clay Goddard, Springfield-Greene County’s Health Department Director.
“I’ll be honest, I’m very frustrated to be up here today, and maybe more so I’m disappointed. I think we need to comprehend the consequences of this,” Goddard stated, as reported by local outlet KY3. Goddard added: “We can’t make this a regular habit or our capability as a community will be strained and we will have to reevaluate how things look going forward.”
According to a statement from franchisees and co-owners of the salon, the location closed for deep cleaning and extra sanitization.
Getting a haircut has become a real focal point for people desperate for the company to reopen. You might remember viral photos of people holding protest signs suggesting as much. Or the hair salon owner in Dallas, Texas who refused to close her business. Or the barber in Michigan who refused to do the same. Barbers even cut hair on the lawn of the Michigan state Capitol as part of a protest against the state’s lockdown measures.
Back to Missouri, there are more than 11,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 767 deaths recorded as of now. As the state reopened, we’ve already seen pictures of people eager to get out and enjoy a holiday weekend, including crammed into the Lake of Ozarks on Saturday.
One important takeaway from this hairstylist situation in Missouri is that contact tracing is important and really does work. The main reason health officials are able to contact people potentially exposed is that the salon kept an appropriate record of appointments and contact information; testing, of course, is a huge deal, but contact tracing is right there too. And of course, prevention is key.