Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

We can get our hair cut now: Here’s how to do it safely

Is it safe to get our haircut yet? As more salons are allowed to reopen, here's what you need to know.

Is it safe to get our haircut yet?
Is it safe to get our haircut yet?Read moreCynthia Greer

We’ve been fretting about our cuts, colors, and weaves from the moment we entered into quarantine.

The good news is its looking like the wait is over. As the number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to decline in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, salons are getting the green light to reopen. Now that Philly is in the green phase, you can get your hair cut. And salons in New Jersey are also open.

Here is what you need to know about your safety.

Is it risky to go to the salon?

The risk doesn’t come from getting your hair done, the risk comes from how close you are to other people, explained Thersa Sweet, an associate professor of epidemiology at Drexel University.

At the very minimum, everyone should be wearing masks, including both you and your hairstylist. (Many throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey will also be wearing shields.) And you also shouldn’t go to a salon where the stations are less than six feet away.

You also want to make sure that your salon has good air circulation, Sweet said. “How well the air exchanges in the room is not something we ever had to think about when we got our hair done before,” Sweet said. This is important because it’s not clear now long the coronavirus can linger in the air, but a room with good circulation, which pushes the air out regularly, can minimize the risk.

The hope is that if we are in the green area, then community spread is way down and there will be very few people in the community who are infected,” Sweet said.

» READ MORE: Philly suburbs will move to green next Friday; city to enter a modified green phase

What services are allowed?

In both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, you can get the following done:

  1. shampoo and conditioning

  2. haircuts

  3. styling

  4. chemical treatments, including color and straightening

  5. manicures and pedicures

  6. massage therapy

You can’t get anything done that requires you to remove your mask. That means no facials, hair removal on the lip or chin, or beard trims for guys.

» READ MORE: Should I shave my beard to keep from getting the coronavirus?

What else will be different?

There will be a lot of changes, said Frank Rizzieri, owner of the South Jersey-based chain of Rizzieri Salons & Spas. Over the last few months, Rizzieri said he invested “tens of thousands dollars in upgrades” that give his salons the flexibility to follow new protocols.

Here’s what the protocols look like:

  1. No more walk-in appointments.

  2. Fever checks for both staff and customers. Those with a temperature over 100.4 degrees will not be able get their hair done or report to work.

  3. Only staff and clients with appointments will be allowed inside the salons. (Most places will text with you when you are outside and when your chair is ready and it’s safe for you to enter.)

  4. Capes will be disposable.

  5. No more food on the premises.

  6. Magazines will be removed.

How will I pay?

Most salons are going touchless and cashless as much as possible, including for tips. Why? Because salon owners want to minimize your time in the salon and cash is a hotbed for germs.

“We will ask you to pay for your service before you get it done, online,” says Syreeta Scott, owner of Duafe. Rizzieri is also moving toward cashless service.

» READ MORE: Outdoor dining returns to Philly. Here’s how it will work.

Is it safe to go to the bathroom?

The state of Pennsylvania is requiring that in our post-pandemic world that salon owners:

  1. Wipe down door handles inside out and out and all commonly touched surfaces after each use.

  2. Stock every bathroom with soap and sanitizer and put a sign in the bathroom reminding people about the importance of handwashing.

Sweet says there is minimal risk in using the bathroom as long as customers wash their hands and wipe down commonly touched surfaces with disinfectant.

What you should really be trying to do is get in and out of the salon as fast as you can. “I’m not as worried about the quick bathroom trip as I am about sitting for hours in a chair breathing in the same air,” Sweet said. “We still want to cut down our exposure to other people.”