Op-Ed: What’s the Real Reason for Forbidding Blow Drying Hair?

Blo Blow Dry Bar, 59 Memorial Rd. in West Hartford's Blue Back Square. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Hair salons and barbershops are among the businesses being permitted to reopen on May 20, 2020, but the owner of West Hartford’s Blo Blow Dry Bar will not be able to operate her business, and has also shared the following with Gov. Ned Lamont and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, asking exactly why this service has been singled out.

By Jean Camilletti, Franchise Owner

As an owner of a local blow dry bar, Blo Blow Dry Bar West Hartford, I feel compelled to express my thoughts regarding the new government mandate issued on May 9, 2020, “Reopen Connecticut.”

The mandate outlines Gov. Ned Lamont’s sector rules. In these guidelines, he announced a decision to “forbid blow drying” throughout the state of Connecticut indefinitely.

This decision is part of the state’s reopening plans set for May 20, 2020, that allow hair salons and barbershops to open and provide services, such as “hairdressing and eyebrows.” In his presentation to the people of the state about “Reopen Connecticut,” Gov. Lamont specially states haircuts and hair color services will be allowable.

There was no explanation provided or substantial data supplied that supports a rationale to forbid blow drying. In fact, performing services such as “hairdressing and eyebrows” requires the same or perhaps even closer proximity to the client as when performing a blow dry.

I did check a trade association listed in the “Reopen Connecticut” guidelines. It appears the Professional Beauty Association recommended “consider eliminating blow drying to reduce appointment times.” We assume the state said no blow-drying services due to the recommendation rather than any proof that blow-drying services can promote the COVID-19 infection.

Blo Blow Dry Bar is a franchise business spanning the U.S. and Canada. As a franchise owner of four blow dry bars throughout the metro-New York area, I lean on my corporate offices often. Together, we have intently sought information on blow drying and researched this on both national health agency websites, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Under no circumstances can we find any information that demonstrates blow drying is dangerous or a contributing factor to the spread of COVID-19.

I have owned and operated Blo Blow Dry Bar West Hartford for nearly five years, and I am a supporting member of the community in terms of employment and philanthropic contributions. My team has been eagerly anticipating their return to work – cautiously and safely – to protect both themselves and my clientele, which is our top priority. In addition, we launched a campaign to honor local frontline healthcare workers with donations of our services.

Additionally, in the presentation about “Reopen Connecticut,” Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz specifically stated she was open to feedback from business owners and citizens. Please accept this document as such feedback as we believe blow drying is safe and wish to open our business concurrent with hair salons and barbershops, with the ability to perform our blow-drying services. My business is solely dependent on blow drying whereas hair salons and barbershops typically offer a full menu of services.

With this writing, I am requesting a public explanation of this decision regarding the prohibiting of blow-drying services so we can better understand why we are forbidden to resume our operations. We also find it disturbing that there has been no indication about timing for our reopening, which puts an enormous burden on my business and employees.

I am extremely perplexed by these rules and really would like to understand the governor’s decision. I must be able to plan for restoring my business along with the livelihoods of my employees and myself while continuing to provide the services upon which my local, loyal clientele has come to rely.

Editor’s Note: Following the publication of this editorial, the state has changed its policy and will permit blow drying of hair to take place.

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1 Comment

  • I work in the medical equipment industry and aerosolized pathogens are real and require either preventing them altogether or HEPA filtration at the source.

    If you have an infected client and you insist on using blow driers, the 6 foot distance for virus particle travel is out the window. You will be endangering yourself and anyone else in your establishment. It will also increase the time that any airborne particles stay in the air.

    Would you sit in a restaurant with fans blowing from table to table? No. Please don’t use fans to cut people’s hair.

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