The gray roots have taken over. The once-chic haircut is now grown over your ears. The 5 o’clock shadow is a full-on beard.
Oh, how you miss those trips to the salon or barbershop you once took for granted.
As of June 5, 34 counties in Pennsylvania have shifted from yellow to green. In these green counties, restaurants, malls, movie theaters, nail salons, and yes, hair salons, can operate at 50% capacity or less. (Salons in New Jersey are set to reopen June 22.)
But if you live in a yellow-phase county, can you drive to a green one to get your hair cut, colored, and styled?
The short answer: Yes, technically.
“Businesses allowed to open in the green phase will not be restricted on who they can accept into their businesses,” Nate Wardle, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, wrote in an email. After all, just because you live in a county that is still in the yellow phase doesn’t mean you have coronavirus, said David Damsker, director of the Bucks County Department of Health.
But that doesn’t mean you should.
If you live in a yellow-phase county, you have a higher chance of being infected than if you live in a green-phase one, explained Theresa Sweet, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Drexel School of Public Health. And since you can carry — and spread — the coronavirus without showing any symptoms, there could be a greater chance that you infect someone in a county in the green phase. “If you yourself are at higher risk, then why would you go to a place where people are at a lower risk? That’s just common courtesy,” Sweet said.
And if you live in the city of Philadelphia, even when the county moves into the yellow phase, it might not be that safe, James Garrow, the spokesperson for the city’s health department, wrote in an email. “If you go from Philadelphia into an area that has fewer cases of the disease, you may start an outbreak there," Garrow wrote.
This is especially true if you are having a service done that’s as personal as a haircut.
It can put both you and the stylist at risk, because even if you’re wearing a mask, you can’t social distance when you get a haircut.
But we want to support our stylists. We miss their camaraderie and listening ears. And face it, many of us need some personal maintenance right now. But it may be wiser — and safer — to wait.
And, once it’s safe to get our haircut, these are the rules: In the green phase, barbers and salons will only be at 50% capacity and services will be by appointment only. Your service provider should be wearing a face shield and a mask and you should be wearing a mask, Damsker said. Your stylist should be cleaning and disinfecting stations in between clients. Don’t be afraid to ask about the cleaning schedule at your salon or barbershop. How often are bathrooms cleaned? Are the sinks washed between clients? What about gloves? Ask about the ventilation if you need to. “It is important to remember that counties that are red, yellow, and green are that way for a reason,” Wardle said. “Our goal is to protect the public health of all Pennsylvanians.”