Is it safe to get your nails done?

is it safe to get nails done coronavirus
Photo via Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
  • Being in close contact for more than 15 minutes is risky
  • Some salons have installed plexiglass screens at manicure stations
  • Call salons beforehand to find out what guidelines they’ve put in place

Nail salons around the United States have unlocked their doors, as economies in each state further open up despite the pandemic. Although experts say getting your nails done at a salon is highly risky, many salons are strictly following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to create the safest environment possible. 

The CDC says nail salon employees can most easily contract COVID-19 when they are “in close contact with clients or coworkers for more than 15 minutes at a time.” This includes jobs like manicures, pedicures, and acrylic nails. 

To protect both staff and customers, the CDC recommends salons use ventilated tables or portable ventilation units, space apart nail stations by at least 6 feet, and use transparent shields between technicians and customers. It also recommends more basic protections, including frequent hand-washing and wearing a mask and gloves at all times. 

Every state and city has its own guidelines for small businesses. At many salons, customers should expect to need to make an appointment, wait in their car until their technician is ready, and then vigorously wash their hands upon entry. Other salons require temperature checks. Bellacures, a small chain with six locations in L.A. and one in Dallas, told Glamour it plans to clean the upholstered chairs between clients with light sterilizers. 

“We’ve installed plexiglass screen partitions at all manicure and pedicure stations,” New York City-based Glosslab told Glamour. “And our staff will now wear face shields in addition to masks.”

Even with extra precautions, experts still say customers risk exposure to COVID-19. Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider, an internal medicine physician in San Francisco, told Glamour it’s up to customers to weigh the potential risk it may have on their health. 

“Just because you’re allowed to do something doesn’t mean you should or that it’s safe, unfortunately,” Ungerleider said. “In the case of a manicure and pedicure, people need to weigh their own individual risk factors like age, underlying medical conditions, and potential for family-member exposure, especially if you live in an area where COVID-19 cases are still active.”

The best way customers can protect themselves is to call salons in advance and ask what guidelines have been put in place. If a salon isn’t handling clients by appointment or taking extra precautions, it’s probably best to steer clear. Also, clients can bring their own face masks and perhaps wear goggles for extra safety.

Is it safe:

Sources: CDC, Glamour, Healthline

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