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COVID-19 Protocols for Hairdressing Salons

COVID-19 Protocols for Hairdressing Salons

Barbershop Stock Image

Here are some strategies for the safe management and operation of hairdressing salons in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.

For the purpose of this protocol, the word hairdresser includes barber, ladies’ hairdresser, beautician, manicurist, pedicurist or any other person whose service is available to the public in a hairdressing salon.


The Health Services Act CAP.44 (Hairdressers) Regulations 1970 makes provision for the safe operation of Hairdresser Salons. The following protocols build on these regulations making provision for additional guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Note: These guidelines are subject to change, as more information on the virus becomes known.

The owner or operator (Service provider) of a hairdressing salon shall be responsible for the strict implementation of these protocols.

Service Providers

  • It is important to ensure that persons who are working in the salon are healthy.
  • Service providers must stay at home if they have possible symptoms.

Any service provider who is identified as having symptoms must contact the Ministry of Health and Wellness Hotline at 536-4500.

  • Any employee experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or loss of the sense of taste or smell, must be excluded from the establishment immediately, and sanitation operating procedures (SSOPs) need to be followed strictly.
  • Any service provider absent from work due to suspected COVID-19 symptoms Shall Not return to work unless certified by a Medical Officer of Health.
  • Upon entering the workplace, all persons’ hands must be washed or sanitized.
  • While in the salon, all persons must wear a face mask.
  • All service providers must wear a face shield when servicing clients.
  • No person shall receive service unless wearing a face mask.
  • Service providers must wash hands with soap and water according to the handwashing protocol for 20 seconds at the commencement of work.

Salon/shop owner or managers should provide training, educational materials, and reinforcement on proper sanitation, hand-washing, cough and sneeze etiquette, using personal protective equipment (PPE), and other protective behaviours.

  • It is recommended that service providers wear disposable gloves when servicing clients, and change gloves between each client.

Social Distancing

  • Every business establishment shall follow strict social distancing protocols for staff and customers.
  • Restrict the number of persons within or outside the establishment at any one time in order to ensure that a distance of at least six (6) feet is maintained between every person. Persons should not assemble otherwise than for the purpose of transacting business.
  • Physical distancing requires maintaining a distance of six feet with persons in public spaces. Use contactless greetings, and avoid sharing of tools, office supplies and equipment, where possible.
  • Staggered start and finish times for team members is recommended, where necessary.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

The most effective practices in preventing the spread of COVID-19 are the washing of hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or the use of hand sanitizer for 20 seconds, rubbing both hands with sanitizer frequently, while at work and home.

  • Immediately dispose of used single use sanitary items such as: tissues, face masks, gloves, etc. in a covered garbage receptacle.
  • High touch/high contact surfaces must be scheduled for frequent cleaning and disinfection.
  • As best as possible avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth while out in public.
  • Check-in consistently. Have a system that provides a symptom self-check for workers and other people before they enter the workplace.  Depending on the workplace, the system could include: a door sign at the entrance to the premises; and/or a basic signs and symptoms checklist, written or oral.  Regularly check with workers about their well-being.


  • Ensure break-rooms are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, and not used for congregating by employees.
  • Ensure that all sinks in the workplace have antibacterial soap available as well as paper towels.
  • Post handwashing signs in the restrooms.
  • Provide alcohol wipes for use at phone stations.
  • Be flexible with work schedules/salon hours to reduce the numbers of people (employees and clients) in salons/shops at all times in order to maintain social distancing.
  • Provide Barbicide® or disinfectant wipes, liquid disinfectant containers, and Barbicide® concentrate/or approved disinfectant for disinfecting technical implements and work areas.
  • Consider discontinuing hand relief treatments as well as scalp, neck, and shoulder massages during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Administrative Controls for Barber and Cosmetology Salons

Process for Taking Appointments with Customers

  • Communicate information and expectations to all customers.
  • Ask customers to come into the salon only when contacted by the salon.
  • Inform the customer that a face mask/face covering must be worn at all times in the salon.
  • Ask customers to be upfront if they have experienced any symptoms connected to COVID-19 within the past 14 days. The safety and health of the team members and other customers is not to be taken lightly.
  • Let customers know what will be expected of them for the time they are in the salon as it relates to limited movement, communication beyond the team members working with them, and where they may have to sit while waiting for treatments to be completed.
  • As far as possible, salons/shops should see clients by appointment only. Salons/shops should consider scheduling online, or by telephone.
  • Limit the number of persons in the waiting area in the salon/shop.
  • It is recommended that clients wait outside the salon/shop until the cosmetologist or barber is ready to serve them.
  • It is recommended that persons not receiving service in the salon/shop wait outside the salon/shop.
  • Salons/shops are not to be used as places for social gathering.


Each client should be draped with a clean cape.  Capes should be laundered following the fabric recommendations between each client.  Salons/shops may consider using disposable capes and dispose of the cape after it is used.

Employees should change clothes before entering their homes when they return from work.

Employees should wear a clean smock between each client.

Smocks should be laundered according to the fabric recommendations between each client. Salons/shops may consider using disposable smocks and dispose of the smock after use on a client.

PPE, such as gloves, gowns, drapes, linens and eye coverings, should be changed between each client.  These used items should be cleaned and disinfected or discarded in a closed container.

Employees should use protective neck strips around the neck of each client receiving a haircut.


  • All salons/shops should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to reopening. Disinfect all surfaces, tools, and linens, even if they were cleaned before the salon/shop was closed during the lockdown.
  • Use disinfectants that are approved and labelled as bactericidal, virucidal and fungicidal. No product has been labelled for COVID-19 as yet, but many will have human coronavirus efficacy either on the label or available on their website.
  • Disinfectant for immersion of tools must be mixed daily and replaced sooner if it becomes contaminated throughout the work day. Disinfectant only works on a clean surface. Before disinfecting, clean all surfaces and tools with hot soapy water, chemical cleaners (e.g. Ship-Shape) or cleaning wipes.  If using wipes, be sure to cover surface thoroughly.
  • Contact time on the label must be observed for disinfectant to work. Contact time refers to the length of time the disinfectant is visibly wet on the surface, allowing it to thoroughly destroy all of the pathogens. Typical contact time for immersion/sprays is 10 minutes, for disinfectant wipes it is two (2) to four (4) minutes.
  • Disinfectant used for immersion must be changed daily or sooner if it becomes contaminated (e.g. hair/debris floating in solution or cloudy solution).
  • Disinfection is for hard non-porous surfaces, glass, metal, and plastic.
  • Porous/soft surfaces cannot be disinfected and must only be used once and then discarded (tools such as cardboard files, buffers, drill bits, etc.).
  • Launder all linens, towels, drapes, and smocks in hot soapy water and dry completely at the warmest temperature allowed and store in an airtight cabinet. Store all used/dirty linens in an airtight container.
  • Place a clean towel over the face of your client while at the sink in a good way to protect their mouth, nose and eyes. Minimize to the greatest degree possible, up-close, direct face-to-face contact with clients. Clients may be advised to walk with their own towel if they prefer, for this purpose.
  • Remove all unnecessary items such as magazines, newspapers, service menus, any other unnecessary paper products and decor. Wipe down all seats and tables; cloth chairs cannot be properly cleaned and disinfected; using a plastic cover should be considered.
  • Wipe reception desk with disinfectant. Consider discontinuing use of paper appointment books or cards, and replace with electronic options.  Consider placement of sneeze shields.
  • Employees should frequently wash their hands after using the phones, computer, cash register and/or credit card machine. Wipe these surfaces between each use.
  • Avoiding the exchange of cash can help greatly in preventing the spread of the virus, but if this is unavoidable, be sure to wash and sanitize hands well after each transaction. The use of credit/debit transactions is preferred, using touch, swipe or no signature technology.


Clean and disinfect all retail areas, daily, including products.  Try to avoid clients touching products that they don’t plan to purchase.

Clean and wipe all door handles and other surfaces that are regularly touched by clients and staff with disinfectant wipes.

Provide hand sanitizer and tissues for employees and clients.  Consider floor stickers and signage that provide guidance for social distance.

Placement of visible and appropriate signage to communicate to the customer that thorough sanitation procedures are in place.


Clean and disinfect ALL restroom surfaces, including floors, sinks and toilet bowls.  Store paper products in a closed cabinet and provide antibacterial hand soap.

Place trashcan by door.  Remove anything that does not have to be in the restrooms.


Clean and disinfect all work area surfaces including electrical appliances (do not forget the cords)

Clean and disinfect chairs, head rest, arm rests (the use of harsh disinfectants can damage leather chairs, and cloth chairs cannot be disinfected, so please use a plastic covering).

Clean and disinfect all reusable tools and store in an airtight closed container.

Clean and disinfect all appliances, sheers, clippers, clipper guards, clips, rollers, combs, brushes, rolling carts and any other items used in connection with servicing clients.

Check to make sure all products such as lotions, creams, waxes and scrubs have always been in a closed container, if not you must discard and replace.

Empty all wax pots and disinfect before refilling them with new wax. Purchase new single use applicators that can be disposed of in an airtight trash bin.  The airtight trash bin should have a lid and should be lined with a disposable plastic bag.

Remove and discard all single use tools, such as paper files, drill bits and buffers, that have already been used.

Clean and disinfect all linen hampers and trash containers and only use such containers that can be closed and use with liners that can be removed and discarded.

Provide hand sanitizer at all work locations for employees and clients.  Consider station barriers between work stations.

Part Two – Protocols for Shampoo Bowls

If available, wrap shampoo bowls in plastic and discard between each client.

Clean and disinfect all bowls, hoses, spray nozzles, foist handles, shampoo chairs, sinks, and arm rests.  Wipe down all back-bar products and shelves.  Discard and replace any products that have not been stored in a closed container.

Consider asking clients to wash their own hair before entering the salon/shop.

Limit as much as possible, face-to-face contact with clients, and consider using face-shields by those employees providing shampoo services.

Clean all removed parts with soap and water, rinse in clear water and then immerse into properly diluted disinfectant for full recommended contact time.

Remove all parts that can be removed.

Fill bowl again with clean water and proper amount of disinfectant and let stand for proper time (at least 10 minutes).

Protocols for Pedicure Bowls

Rinse bowl with clean water.

If your bowl has jets, allow the jets to run for a full 10 minutes with disinfectant.

Clean and disinfect all linens and store in a closed container/cabinet.

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