Missouri officials: Hairstylist with COVID-19 serviced nearly 100 clients while sick

BY KAELAN DEESE - 05/23/20 12:59 PM EDT

A hairstylist at a Great Clips in Missouri exposed nearly 100 people to COVID-19 as she continued working even after exhibiting symptoms of the virus.

The Kansas City Star reported that the woman serviced 84 clients and exposed seven other employees at the salon, according to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department Friday.

While some states in the U.S. still prohibit salons and other "close contact" businesses from reopening due to pandemic lockdown restrictions, Missouri allowed salon businesses to reopen on May 4.

Health officials said the hairstylist showed symptoms while working between May 12 and May 20, adding that virus tests would be distributed to those who were "directly exposed" to her.

Both the stylist and clients were reportedly wearing masks throughout the week.

The Great Clips franchise owners told McClatchy News the salon would be sanitized and cleaned under the county health department's guidelines and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) guidelines, according to the report.

"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," the franchise owners said.

Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director Clay Goddard commended the salon's response, but said more accidental exposures such as this could not continue to happen.

"We can't make this a regular habit or our capability as a community will be strained and we will have to re-evaluate what things look like going forward," Goddard said. "Each of us owns just how this will go forward in our community."

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