As some states begin to roll back covid-19 shelter-in-place orders, people across the country are running to hair salons and barbershops to get that trim or lineup they’ve been putting off. And some officials are concerned that blow-dryers, which circulate air that might contain virus particles, could be a health risk. Sure, it’s literally impossible to adhere to social distancing guidelines with someone else’s hands in your hair, but the real health risk is clearly the hair dryers.
According to the New York Post, these new hairdryer safety protocols aren’t just coming from concerned salon owners.
When Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced that state hair salons could reopen on May 20, he included the stipulation that blow-dryers would be banned, as they could circulate COVID-19 particles in the air. On Monday, the state reversed course, saying blow-dryers could be used by salons “as needed.”
Personally, there’s nothing I find more comforting than a politician arbitrarily reversing their stance on a public health matter. Really restores my faith in the government’s desire to keep us safe, you know?
One salon owner is allowing blow-dryer use in his recently-reopened salon, while another plans to limit services that involve blow drying to private “blow-dry rooms” in an attempt to minimize the risk of spreading germs.
“We went back and forth, and then I decided if everyone’s wearing a mask, there’s not going to be germs in the air,” Bowen says, adding, “If you’re going to blow-dry someone’s hair in a salon, it’s going to be clean hair.”
I don’t think there’s any amount of hair washing that will simply rid one’s body of covid-19, if a salon-goer happens to be infected with the virus. It’s also not yet clear if blow dryers really do pose an elevated medical risk. But what is clear is that going to a salon to get a professional haircut is inherently a risky choice, regardless of whether you’re going for a blowout or a dye job.
And it’s not just risky for the customers, it’s also risky for the people working in the hair salons, who will have no option but to be exposed to an indefinite number of germs in order to make money and pay their bills. With millions of people filing for unemployment every week, many people can’t afford to turn down work—even if it puts them and their families at risk.
But hey, at least wealthy white women can get their hair done. Right?