ATLANTA — A frequently asked question since Gov. Brian Kemp announced some businesses will be allowed to reopen in Georgia this Friday is how people are supposed to get a haircut while practicing social distancing.

The Georgia Board of Cosmetology and Barbers has addressed that issue by releasing a set of guidelines the state’s barbershops and hair salons should follow that combines social distancing with screening, cleaning and the use of personal protective equipment.

“Under our sanitation laws and rules, we are charged with the responsibility of protecting consumers from the spread of contagious diseases everyday in our salons,” board Chairman Kay Kendrick said in a prepared statement. “By adding the safety guidelines that have been developed by the board and some of our industry leaders in the cosmetology and barber profession, we feel that our professionals will be able to do an even better job of protecting themselves and their clients.”

While common sense dictates a barber or hair stylist cannot remain at least 6 feet from a customer, the guidelines require employees to wear masks at all times and suggest shops consider providing masks to customers. Also, customers should wear masks “to the extent possible” while receiving services.

The guidelines also suggest shops use touchless infrared thermometers to take the temperature of employees each day and of customers entering the premises. Shops should additionally screen customers by asking them whether they have experienced a cough or fever or been near anyone exhibiting these symptoms within the last 14 days.

Shops also should consider seeing customers by appointment only and limit the number of customers in their waiting areas.

All shops should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before reopening. Shops should then maintain regular disinfection of all tools, shampoo bowls, pedicure bowls, work stations, treatment rooms, and restrooms.

“As we begin the process of safely reopening our economy, it is critical that business owners, operators, and contractors adhere strictly to increased safety and sanitation guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Kemp, whose reopening announcement drew criticism both inside Georgia and nationally, particularly over reopening barbershops and hair salons. “Working together, I am confident that we can get these sectors back online and work to ensure the health and safety of all Georgians.”

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