When Will It Be Safe to Get Your Nails Done? Experts Weigh In

Sharpen those polishing skills now—it'll be a while before you can safely go to the nail salon.

As hair salons and barbershops begin to reopen their doors in certain states, other beauty and cosmetic services, such as nail salons, are likely to remain closed for business in most parts of the country for the foreseeable future. So, how long will customers have to wait before they can get their next professional manicure or pedicure? Well, with California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently identifying nail salons as the source of coronavirus community spread and labeling them as "high-risk" businesses, it will likely be quite a while before it's safe to get your nails done.

"Once testing is accessible to all and we can use that broad testing to document that cases are on the decline, businesses that require people to be in close proximity will begin to operate cautiously," explains pediatrician Cara Natterson, MD, founder of Worry Proof Consulting.

While widespread antibody testing would be a great help in determining how likely a person is to catch and spread the coronavirus, it's an actual vaccine for COVID-19 that's needed before it will really be safe to go to a nail salon. And since a vaccine is unlikely to hit the market before September, you can expect to wait at least until then. Even when a vaccine is available, however, the safety of returning to the salon will still depend on how coronavirus is spreading through specific communities, as many experts predict that a second wave of COVID-19 will hit the U.S. in the late fall or early winter.

When nail salons do in fact reopen doors to consumers, "manicurists and patrons will both need to wear masks, and manicurists may opt to wear gloves, too," says Natterson.

Still, though protective equipment like masks and gloves may help prevent the spread of the virus via respiratory droplets, cuticle clippings and other treatments offered at nail salons have the potential to draw blood, which could possibly transmit COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has detected coronavirus RNA in blood, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to rule out the possibility of transmission by blood.

These additional concerns, combined with the uncertainty of when it will be safe to reopen, has unfortunately left business owners to take desperate measures to stay afloat. As reported by the The Washington Post, some salon owners and employees have begun making house calls, putting themselves at risk of getting and spreading the disease. And in Dallas, one salon owner was sentenced to seven days in jail and a $3,500 fine for reopening her business before public health officials deemed it safe to do so.

When it comes to nail salon customers, even though overgrown cuticles and unpolished nails may be keeping you from feeling like your most put-together self, Natterson says waiting to rectify those cosmetic issues until epidemiologists and medical professionals deem it's safe to do so is in everyone's best interest. At the very least, she says, in quarantine "no one sees your extremities!" And for more things that will be different after the pandemic, check out these 5 Grim Realities of Life After Coronavirus You Need to Come to Terms With.

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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