The Hudson Valley is officially in phase 3 of reopening, which includes personal care businesses like nail salons.

On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, the mid-Hudson Valley region officially entered into phase 3 of New York Forward, the four-phase reopening plan. Phase 3 allows indoor dining at limited capacity and personal care businesses to reopen. Personal care businesses include tattoo and piercing facilities, appearance enhancement practitioners, massage therapy, spas, cosmetology, UV and non-UV tanning, waxing salons, and nail salons. Getting your nails done is obviously a close-contact activity, and right now isn't the best time to be touching strangers. But this shouldn't deter you from supporting your local salon and taking care of yourself. There are plenty of ways for you to stay safe at nail salons as they reopen in our area.

1. Always wear a mask/face covering

You are required to wear a mask to enter a personal care business in phase 3. If you don't need to take it off for your service (ex. getting lip fillers or your upper lip waxed) it's best not to. The CDC says that COVID-19 can be spread by people in close proximity by speaking, coughing, or sneezing. So if you don't need to take your mask off, don't. This is for your safety and others.

2. Keep an eye out for sanitation, spaced seating, and barriers

You should ALWAYS be looking to see how things are sanitized at a nail salon, but especially now. When you sit down, you should see the nail technician wipe down the table, or should have seen it be done before you sit. Any tools used should be taken out of a sterilizer or sterile packaging. This includes nail files, cuticle and nail clippers, and buff blocks. Your tech should also put on new gloves as you sit down. You should also be sitting 6 feet apart from anyone else. Look out for barriers, like plexiglass, between you and your nail technician too. If you don't see any of these things happening, it might be best to not go there.

3. Wash your hands before AND after your service

Your hands touch more than you realize, so to keep yourself wash your hands thoroughly before your service to keep the tech and yourself safe. Also, wash them immediately after. When you're getting a manicure, someone else is working on your hand nearly the entire time. That's a lot of close contact with someone else and you don't know what germs they have picked up.

4. Make an appointment if possible

From what I have seen, a lot of salons in the area are accepting appointments, even if they haven't previously. This is likely to reduce crowds and too many people being in there. They also could be operating at reduced capacity or using appointments only. This will guarantee that you'll get in the seat as soon as you get there so you can get in and out.

5. Bring your own nail polish if possible

I know that everyone doesn't have the massive nail polish collection that I have. But people usually have a bottle or two. If you can, it's smart to bring your own polish. This is usually a good idea anyway because you know if the color has been thinned out or not. But bringing your own means less contact with something that has touched other people (the brush!). Bonus points if you bring your own top and base coat.

6. Don't bring food or drinks

Your Starbucks is essential for your day, I get that. But when at the nail salon, keep it in the car or skip it altogether. Having a drink brings in the germs that are on the straw or opening, and it also allows the straw to collect more germs. And if you want to drink or eat during your service, your mouth will be exposed and your mask will be off. You can wait an hour and survive, I promise.

Besides these tips, there are multiple guidelines that must be followed for employees and customers at personal care businesses. These include employees wearing a face-covering anytime they interact with a customer, disinfection and sanitization of surfaces between customers, and physical barriers between customers and the register, like plexiglass. The workforce and customer presence are limited to 50% capacity and people must be 6 ft. apart at all times, unless the service demands otherwise, like, performing a manicure/pedicure. Customers will only be allowed to enter if they are wearing an acceptable face covering, which covers the mouth and nose.

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