Two stylists were working in the Springfield, Missouri, salon before they knew they were carrying the coronavirus. 

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has uncovered the effectiveness of wearing a mask in close quarters. In mid-May, two stylists were working at a Great Clips hair salon in Springfield, Missouri, when they began to experience symptoms consistent with the coronavirus. Both stylists kept working eight to 10 days before getting their test results and quarantining. The salon had a mask and social distancing policy in force during the time the stylists were working, and it appears to have kept the salon’s clients from getting the virus.

The first stylist noticed symptoms on May 12, 2020, and continued to work until May 20. Officials believe this stylist spread the virus to another stylist who continued to work in the salon until May 23. The local health department in Springfield began a contract tracing operation and contacted 139 people who had come to the salon in that time period for services. The rest of the employees in the salon were also quarantined for two weeks and tested. The salon and the local government had ordinances in place that recommended employees and customers wear some sort of face covering.

CDC salon virus graphic

Courtesy the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Both stylists wore double-layer cotton masks, and visitors to the salon wore a combination of surgical, fabric, and N95 masks. When the local health department followed up with clients, it offered them the opportunity to get a free coronavirus test. About 48 percent of the people took their offe,r and the others refused the test. The Springfield Health Department was able to interview 104 of the 139 clients and determined none if the interviewees tested positive or reported symptoms within 14 days of exposure.

Coronavirus is spread through aerosol respiratory droplets in the air. The CDC has concluded that maintaining six feet of distance and wearing a face covering greatly reduces the spread of virus droplets. A study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology found that a double-layer cotton mask offered the best protection when it came to non-medical mask options.

The CDC study admits some of the clients could have tested positive after the monitoring period, and clients that did not get a test could have been asymptomatic. Still, the study shows the effectiveness of wearing a face covering to prevent the spread of this deadly virus.