On 19 June 2020 the Department of Small Business Development issued Directions giving effect to the announcement made by the President enabling Personal Care Services businesses to re-open. These Directions provide protocols to mitigate and manage the COVID-19 outbreak amongst employees and customers.

On 18 June 2020, the President announced in a televised address to the nation, that providers of "personal cares services" - hairdressers, nail and beauty therapists, massage therapists, and tattoo and body piercing services - would be permitted to operate, subject to strict guidelines and protocols.

On 19 June 2020, the Department of Small Business Development issued Directions in terms of Regulation 10(8) of the Regulations made under section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002, giving effect to the announcement made by the President. These Directions provide protocols to mitigate and manage the COVID-19 outbreak amongst employees and customers in the Personal Care Services Industry.


  1. The Directions are issued to assist the categories of services under the Personal Care Services Industry that are deemed safe to resume operations and specify protocols under which services may operate.
  2. The permitted services may only commence with operations upon ensuring full compliance with the relevant protocols for their services.


The developed protocols for COVID-19 operations will apply to the personal care industry, both formal and informal, in level 3 and, in particular, the following sub-sectors:

  • hairdressing & barbering;
  • manicure and pedicure treatments;
  • facial treatments and make-up;
  • body massage; and
  • tattooing and body piercing.

The protocols apply in the following areas:

  • formal salon premises;
  • informal salon premises (in buildings and public spaces and open air);
  • formal tattooing and body piercing studios; and
  • informal tattooing and body piercing studios.

These protocols do not replace the Regulations and Directions already issued in relation to the conduct of businesses during the National State of Disaster, but serve as additional guidelines to ensure that those providing or obtaining personal care services do so in a manner that minimises the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Protocols for the permitted personal care services

Specific standard operating procedures for formal and informal salons are set out in clauses 3.6 to 3.7 of the Directive and include:

  • Hand washing or sanitizing;
    • providing a hand sanitizer or hand washing station for customers before they enter the business premises;
      washing hands after handling of cash; and
      sanitizing of hands before and after serving a customer.
  • Cleaning of premises and equipment;
    • ensuring premises are cleaned before and after use;
      using fresh and clean towels for each customer; and
      sanitizing equipment or tools before and after each use.
  • Personal Garment and Personal Protective Equipment;
    • wearing masks as per the Guidelines of the Department of Health;
      aprons should be cleaned after serving each customer and can only be re-used after the apron has been washed with water and soap; and
      where gloves are required for treatment they should be changed after each client and should not be shared.
  • Social Distancing;
    • pre-booking of appointments is encouraged to avoid long queues; and
      1.5 meter distances must be clearly marked at waiting areas.
  • Compliance;
    • explaining new procedures and schedules to all employees; and
      explaining to customers the applicable COVID-19 protocols where possible.
  • Workstations and wash stations;
    • the basin area must be deep cleaned at the end of each business day;
      only customers who are to receive treatment are to be allowed; and
      time limits to be set for each treatment.

The standard operating procedures for formal and informal tattooing studios are set out in clause 3.9 of the Directive and include;

  • Hand washing and social distancing protocols will apply in the same manner as set out above;
  • Cleaning of premises and equipment;
    • wetting the work surface with disinfectant and applying plastic wrap and a dental bib; and
      spray bottles may not be used for tattoo cleaning.
  • Personal Garment and Personal Protective Equipment;
    • nitrile gloves are required for treatments.
  • Access and booking;
    • indemnity forms must be filled in by every tattoo or piercing customer and an addendum must be added to the form to state that the customer is aware of, and accepts the dangers of having a close contact procedure done during COVID-19; and
      maintain a register of customers and persons who enter the studio.
  • Work Area;
    • sharps containers must be provided for each area;
      no face and neck treatments are allowed; and
      work areas must be arranged to be at least 1.5 meters apart.
  • Compliance;
    • Medical waste is to be stored in a separate area and is to be collected by a registered medical waste company.

The re-opening of these businesses will come as welcome respite to the business owners as well as the public, as they are mostly small businesses providing vital income for their owners and employees. However, the risks attendant on the close personal contact these services entail make it essential, with the pandemic currently climbing to a peak, that the necessary health and safety precautions be observed, in accordance with the Guidelines.

Originally published 22 June 2020

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