Health director, hair salons frustrated after stylist went to work with coronavirus

Published: May. 22, 2020 at 9:34 PM CDT
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Dozens of people may have been exposed to the coronavirus while getting their hair cut in Springfield. Local health leaders say a hair stylist at Great Clips on Glenstone was working while sick with the virus for several days.

Between Tuesday, May 12 and Wednesday, May 20, that hair stylist came in contact with 84 clients and seven coworkers. All of them will now be tested for the coronavirus.

"I'll be honest, I'm very frustrated to be up here today, and maybe more so I'm disappointed," said Springfield Greene-County Health Director Clay Goddard.

Goddard even though everyone was wearing masks, this should not have happened in the first place.

"I think we need to comprehend the consequences of this," Goddard said.

Other hair stylists in Springfield share his frustration. Anissa Lilley is the manager of the SuperCuts on S. Campbell.

"For a stylist to be out of work for so long and be excited to come back to work, you would think you'd want to be safe, and you don't want to be shut down again," Lilley said.

After being closed for weeks, Lilley said she and her staff are taking extra precautions so they can stay open, such as sanitizing, taking employees' temperatures and limiting the number of people inside.

"We want to work, we want to service our community and it's hard that some people aren't following the rules and don't care about everyone's safety," she said.

SuperCuts is also making sure stylists and clients are wearing masks at all times. Great Clips has the same policy, which Director Goddard called, "corporate responsibility." He said, in this recent case, individual responsibility was lacking.

"We're in a new phase of this disease where we're going to walk that tight rope between disease control and economic harm, if we're going to work sick and sharing this illness with others, that's not a good approach," "Goddard said.

He said there is bright side, though. Because of this, we might now learn how effective masks are in stopping the spread of the virus. However, Goddard said this can't happen anymore.

"We can't make this a regular habit or our capability as a community will be strained and we will have to reevaluate how things look going forward," he said.

The owners of the S. Glenstone Great Clips, Brittany Hager and Jennifer Small, sent a statement that reads:

"The well-being of Great Clips customers and stylists in the salon is our top priority and proper sanitization has always been an important cosmetology industry practice for Great Clips salons. We’ve closed the salon where the employee works and it’s currently undergoing additional sanitizing and deep cleaning consistent with guidance from. the Springfield-Greene County Health Department and the CDC. We will reopen the salon based on guidance from the health department."

This Great Clips was not the only place that stylist visited while sick. For the dates and times they went to work, as well as the other locations there might've been exposure, click