A stylist wears gloves while giving a haircut during the coronavirus pandemic.
Paras Griffin/Getty Images
A Great Clips hair salon in Springfield, Missouri, has become a potential hot spot of COVID-19 transmission after two hairstylists came into work while symptomatic, potentially exposing more than 140 people to the virus, according to local officials.
Springfield-Greene County Health Department director Clay Goddard said at a press conference Friday that a Great Clips stylist worked on eight days between May 12 and May 20, during which the stylist came into contact with 84 clients and seven coworkers while showing symptoms.
On Saturday, the health department said in a statement that a second stylist had tested positive for the coronavirus and may have exposed an additional 56 clients. The stylist experienced “very mild symptoms” over five days between May 16 and Mat 29 but was deemed “potentially infectious” by the health department.
“The individual and their clients were wearing face coverings,” the statement said.
Customers and employees who were potentially exposed will be notified and offered testing, but those who did not have close contact with the stylist are believed to be at “very low risk” of contracting the virus.
At Friday’s press conference, Springfield-Greene County Health Department director Clay Goddard said that he was “very frustrated” and “disappointed” by the new outbreak as the state begins to reopen.
“We can’t have many more of these,” he said. “We can’t make this a regular habit or our capability as a community will be strained and we will have to re-evaluate what things look like going forward.”
Great Clips franchise owners Brittany Hager and Jennifer Small told Missouri’s KY3 in a statement on Friday that the salon had closed to undergo “additional sanitizing and deep cleaning” in accordance with recommendations from the local health department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The well-being of Great Clips customers and stylists in the salon is our top priority and proper sanitization has always been an important cosmetology industry practice for Great Clips salons,” the statement said.
In late April, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced that some businesses, including hair salons, would be allowed to reopen. Social distancing requirements outlined in the state’s order do not apply to “personal services” like salons, according to NBC local affiliate KSDK.
All 50 states have now eased some lockdown restrictions, even though many have yet to see the 14-day downward trend in new cases that the White House has recommended states observe in order to begin reopening safely.
Public-health experts have repeatedly warned that lifting lockdowns too early could lead to more waves of coronavirus transmission, which could force states to implement new lockdowns to curb the virus’ spread.
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