Million extra close contacts per week when hairdressers reopen, warns Crisis Centre
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Million extra close contacts per week when hairdressers reopen, warns Crisis Centre

Credit: Belga

The reopening of hairdressers across Belgium tomorrow will mean an estimated extra million close contacts between people per week, health officials stated during a press conference on Friday.

The virus is still circulating intensely among the population, according to virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht, who stressed that the relaxation thresholds of 800 new infections and 75 hospitalisations per day are not yet reached.

“It is estimated that the hairdressers’ reopening tomorrow will cause more than one million extra close contacts per week,” he said, adding that more than 2,000 new infections are still detected daily.

“Therefore, masks are essential to keep everyone safe, and to prevent the epidemic from re-emerging,” Van Gucht said. “So is disinfecting the place between receiving two clients.”

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Clients will be able to use their own mask, and they have to keep it on during the entire appointment. “This also applies to hairdressers, but for them, surgical masks are mandatory,” Van Gucht stressed, adding that they need to have a CE marking as a recognition of their quality.

Hairdressers’ masks should be changed at least every eight hours, and every four hours if they are used intensively, according to him.

Wearing a scarf or bandana to cover your nose and mouth is no longer allowed, as was published in the latest update to the Ministerial Decree this weekend.

“Additionally, equally important as wearing a mask, is making sure you wear it correctly,” Van Gucht said, adding that a mask should fit your face well, so that not too many drops can escape from the sides.

He also stressed that adequate ventilation of the salon is absolutely necessary, “despite the cold weather.”

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times