Infectious Disease Expert Says Hair Salons Are a "Medium-Risk" Activity

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While people across the country are adapting to the "new normal," many are wondering which activities are safe to do. Though leaving the comfort of your home at any time poses a small risk, there are a number of activities that are considered riskier than others. 

In an article on businessinsider.comDr. Susan Hassig, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, talked about the risks of going out to eat, gathering with friends and opening mail. According to Dr. Hassig, here's what you should consider as restrictions start to lift across the country.

High risk: Gatherings of family or friends

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"If you haven't been living with them, then there's a potential risk," Dr. Hassig told Business Insider. The article went on to say that if you do decide to get together with family or friends, you should consider the age and underlying conditions of the people there and those you live with. Because family and friends are less likely to wear masks when they're with each other, it's possible that asymptomatic people could transmit the virus in this type of setting. 

High risk: Bars

Bars "should not be allowed to open," Hassig said. According to the article, mingling, crowded areas and the inability to wear masks while drinking make them a high-risk place for getting infected. 

Medium to high risk: Gyms

While it's easier to social distance in a gym than a bar, it doesn't mean the gym is totally safe. Dr. Hassig considers going to the gym a medium-risk activity and recommends equipment be sanitized before and after each use.

Medium risk: Indoor restaurants

Many states have allowed restaurants with outdoor seating to resume business, but indoor restaurants pose a greater risk. "Indoor dining at restaurants is risky because of airflow and people being in an enclosed space for hours at a time," the article says. 

Medium risk: Hair and nail salons 

Hair and nail salons, which have opened in several states, have a medium risk of infection, Hassig told Business Insider. Like other interactive activities, wearing masks is critical, as it helps block particles from spreading easily when you're speaking or coughing. It also discourages employees and customers from touching their faces.

Low to medium risk: Beaches

Though being outdoors sounds like a low-risk activity, Hassig says beaches can be somewhat dangerous because of their capacity. "They usually have many points of entry, so it would be difficult to limit capacity," Hassig said. 

Low risk: Touching mail/groceries

When the virus first began some news outlets cautioned against touching mail and groceries without wiping it down first, but Hassig considers it a low-risk activity. According to Hassig, there's a low risk of catching the coronavirus from touching your mail or other items like groceries. 

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