By State Rep. Viola Davis
I am a critical care nurse with over 20 years experience, elected official, and a prior business owner of a hair salon with my late sister, located in DeKalb County.
I, along with Representatives Donna McLeod and Mary Robichaux, reviewed the Safety Guidelines for Reopening Barber and Cosmetology Salons and the OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplace for COVID-19 referenced in press releases.
I have several concerns about the safety guidelines issued to salon owners:
The first step in reducing or eliminating the risks of Coronavirus in a hair salon or barbershop is to train all employees to keep their areas organized, clean, and safe. Due to the time limit, we will focus on the continuity of planning or the lack of continuity between the two documents used as resources, OSHA, and the Safety Guidelines for Reopening Barber and Cosmetology Salons.
There is an overall lack of training in the use of proper procedures in infection control that causes us concern for the potential worsening outbreak conditions, especially with the shortage of supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE). Any further cluster contaminations and cross-contamination will be attributed to the lack of continuity in upholding standards of care to protect the public against very infectious diseases. I want to focus on the lack of continuity in 6-7 areas to include:
- The safety guidelines state the salons “should” do temperature checks and not service any clients that have a temperature above 99*F. However, the OSHA document identifies the symptoms are typically fever, cough, and shortness of breath; yet, some people infected with the virus are asymptomatic, have experienced no symptoms at all.
- Salons are instructed to ask each client the following questions:
- Have you had a cough?
- Have you had a fever?
- Have you been around anyone exhibiting these symptoms within the past 14 days?
- Are you living with anyone who is sick or quarantined?
We are suggesting the salons enact a method of social tracking in case a client is known to be infected with Coronavirus and there is a need to inform people who attended on the day.
- Salons are instructed to limit people in the shop/salon and maintain social distancing. A majority of the salons/shops in the African American community rent chairs that are in close proximity to each other, well within the 6 feet.
- The use of a mask is mandatory. The salons are instructed to provide personal protective equipment such as masks, face shields, gloves, capes, smocks, and eye covering, etc.
- The personal protective equipment is in short supply to the point that hospitals are concerned about the supply for doctors and nurses. There are over 95,000 people with a license to operate in a salon. Where would the additional supplies come from and who will foot the cost?
- The salons are instructed to change equipment between each client. However, there are doctors and nurses protesting the practice of using one mask for 1-2 weeks.
- Salons do not normally change the capes between each individual client. However, the safety guideline instructs everyone to change equipment between each client.
- The safety guidelines instruct the salons to avoid the exchange of cash to help prevent the spread of the virus. The salon and barber business, especially in the black community, is a cash business.
- The safety guidelines instruct salons to consider discontinuing hand relief treatment as well as scalp, neck, and shoulder massages during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Gov. Kemp has cleared the massage parlors and nail shops to open for business.
- This is a lack of continuity of care that will increase harm to the general public and cause an increase in the spread of the Coronavirus. This may also place salon/shop owners at legal risk if they do not follow these guidelines.