This Is Exactly What You Should Do at a Nail Salon, According to the CDC

These are the steps you should take during coronavirus to protect yourself and others.

If you've been eagerly counting down the days until you can finally head back to the nail salon for a manicure or pedicure, your wait may be soon over. Nail salons that were closed due to the coronavirus have started to reopen throughout the U.S., but sitting down in the salon chair may not be the relaxing experience it once was. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have laid out new guidelines for nail salons patrons to help mitigate the risk of person-to-person coronavirus transmission before you so much as pick out your polish.

Before you even leave the house, the CDC recommends calling ahead to schedule an appointment so that you can avoid spending time in close proximity to others while waiting; it also recommends inquiring about the use of face masks by employees, as well as whether or not the salon has added physical barriers to disrupt the spread of respiratory droplets between employees and customers. You should also ask if there's any way to pay for your services and tip without exchanging cash before you arrive.

woman paying at nail salon

If the salon isn't ready to seat you upon arrival, vacate the waiting area if possible—this may mean staying in your car or waiting outside until it's time for your appointment. Once inside, make sure your mask is covering your mouth and nose, and wash your hands prior to receiving any treatments. If you have touched any surfaces inside the salon, from gel polish lamps to door knobs, wash them again. If you have anything to throw out at the end of your appointment, like toe separators or paper slippers, toss them into a touch-free trash can instead of one you have to open manually.

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If you haven't paid prior to arrival, employees should be changing gloves between customer transactions or sanitizing their hands before handling the next person's cash or card.

However, even if a salon assures you that all of these precautions will be in place when you book your appointment, you should feel free to show yourself out the door any time you notice that employees and customers are not abiding by these guidelines. "If you arrive in a salon and it appears to be crowded, it is a small space, there is no separation between stations, people are waiting in a common lobby, or people are shaking hands or touching each other, be prepared to leave," says physician Leann Poston, MD, of Invigor Medical. And if you want to prepare for your next beauty treatment, discover the One Thing You Absolutely Have to Do Before Visiting a Salon.

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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