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Can Dad Safely Get a Haircut?



My father is very selective about what he will or will not do right now. He won’t go to a restaurant, but is planning to get a haircut. He’s 85 and not in the best of health; his heart is enlarged, he’s overweight and he has high blood pressure.

I’m not comfortable with him being out and about yet, because I think he is at a very high risk for a bad outcome should he get this COVID virus. Maybe I’m being too careful, though. I do see people out and about; many are not even wearing masks.

I may be overly cautious, and I’m looking to you to provide some advice on this.



I completely understand how your father feels. We all feel the same way, really. It’s summer. People are out and about, doing their thing around town. All he wants is a haircut, and by now his hair must really need a trim.

Your assessment of his risk is spot on. He has some of the highest risk factors for a negative outcome you can’t have. His combined risks make me very nervous. It’s people like him that don’t handle this virus very well and could possibly become statistics. His health is not optimal to survive COVID-19. While all of us should continue to be very, very careful, he is in no position to be cavalier about the disease. All precautions should be taken to protect him from anyone carrying the virus. You must assume that everyone is potentially infectious.

Here’s what I suggest you consider in this situation:

  • Acknowledge that a haircut would be very nice and that you understand his desire to get one.
  • If possible, trim his hair yourself. There are some nice tutorials online to guide you. It may not look the most professional, but you can do what you can with nice scissors.
  • Ask your father’s permission to contact the place he goes or have him call to see how they are handling social distancing. Salons and barbers should have a plan to protect their workers and customers. Find out what their solution is to keep your dad safe. Do they wear masks, monitor illness, and distance customers from one another?
  • Discuss the solution at his hairdresser’s establishment and decide if it’s enough. Understand that him wearing a mask is not sufficient. Someone standing over him cutting and talking for even 10 minutes is PLENTY of time to infect him.
  • Find your father another hair dresser if you’re not comfortable with the strategy provided by his current place. We’re talking about his life here; it’s okay to be cautious.

These are interesting times and also dangerous for those like your father. His health is already compromised, and this virus would not be kind to him. You’re being thoughtful, and he should be, too. I’m sure you’ll figure out how to get him the services he needs safely and creatively.


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