Hair salons will be able to use both hair dryers and blow dryers if they choose to reopen as part of Connecticut's phase one reopening plan, said the state's commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, David Lehman.
Lehman said salons should make a case-by-case determination if the dryers are need and if it's determined yes, they should feel safe to use it.
The state originally said that hair salons opting to reopen on May 20 would not be allowed to use the blow dryers, citing concerns about circulating particles through the air.
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After getting feedback from salons, the state went back to its occupational health and safety advisers to see if the devices could be deemed safe.
"A determination was made that we could have blow dryers as needed," Lehman said. He added hair dryers are acceptable as well.
Salon owners and workers have expressed concerns that the guidelines for reopening and many are concerned about blow dryers, which are used for coloring and styling. Those who work with ethnic hair said blow drying is essential for some of the services they offer, and the restriction would make it impossible for them to do their jobs.
The blow dryers were not the only concern. Some fear reopening on May 20 is unsafe for workers and clients, and say it will be difficult to get the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning and disinfecting materials necessary to meet the state guidelines.
Others pointed out that the nature of their business makes staying six feet apart impossible, and worried that their spaces are too small to follow spacing restrictions necessary for social distancing.
The guidelines for hair salons opting to reopen are as follows:
For Hair Salons:
- Maximum 50 percent capacity
- Appointments only
- Waiting rooms closed
- Workstations six feet apart
- Physical barriers where possible
- Contactless payments preferred
- Tools soaked in disinfectant between clients
- Hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes at entrance points
- High-contact areas and bathrooms cleaned frequently
- Limit conversation where possible.
- Employees to wear face masks and face shields or eye protection
- Employees to provide clean smock for each customer
- Customers to wear face masks or cloth face coverings
- Increased ventilation and airflow where possible
State officials have said they are open to hearing from salon owners and workers to see if they can tweak the guidelines.