Getting a haircut (or having your hair dyed or styled) is a higher-risk activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s why.
- It’s impossible to maintain at least six feet of distance from your stylist while you get your hair done. Since COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person, this is a big problem.
- As a rule of thumb, more people means more risk. Hairdressers and barbers see many clients every day. Even if clients don’t have symptoms, people can spread COVID-19 before they start feeling sick. All of this means that hairdressers and barbers are at higher risk for catching COVID-19. When you spend time with people who are at higher risk, you too are at increased risk.
- There is no single definition for how long is too long to spend with another person before you are potentially exposed. The CDC suggests that spending at least 10 minutes with someone can put you at risk. Most haircuts will take more than 10 minutes.
When deciding whether you’re comfortable with these risks, you should also think about your own personal health. We know that older people (above the age of 60) and people with pre-existing health conditions are at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19. So for older people, getting a haircut is a riskier activity!
What if there are no cases in your city or town? On one hand, the burden of COVID-19 in your area certainly affects your personal risk. But when a new outbreak or hotspot happens, the virus spreads silently for the first few weeks. So even if there are no reported cases in your town today, that does not mean the virus is gone.
Last update: May 28, 2020, 10:36 pm ET
Science review: GSN