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What Beauty Salon and Barbershop Employees Need to Know about COVID-19
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides resources to assist employers and workers identify COVID-19 exposure risks and help them take appropriate steps to prevent exposure and infection. See the OSHA Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) topic pageexternal icon for the most current requirements, guidance, and tools.
How COVID-19 Spreads
COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about it. Here’s what we currently know:
- It mainly spreads from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or talks.
- You can get the virus from people who don’t seem sick or have symptoms.
- You might be able to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your face, mouth, nose, or eyes.
As a hair stylist, barber, massage therapist, hair braider, cosmetologist, or esthetician, you might be exposed to the virus at your job when you:
- Provide services to clients.
- Are in close contact with clients, coworkers, vendors, service-providers, or delivery people.
- Touch or handle contaminated surfaces (e.g., with respiratory droplets from someone who coughed) or frequently touched items, cash, or merchandise and then touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes.
How You Can Protect Yourself and Others
Stay home if you are having symptoms of COVID-19.
- Follow CDC recommended steps if you are sick.
- Do not return to work until you meet the criteria to discontinue home isolation.
- Talk with your healthcare provider about when it’s safe for you to return to work.
- Follow CDC recommended precautions.
- Tell your supervisor or business owner if you are well but someone you live with, or someone you have had recent close contact with, has COVID-19.
Stay at least 6 feet away from clients and coworkers, when possible.
- Be aware of close contact with your fellow employees. Stagger times to use the break room and enter and exit the building.
- Limit the time that you are close to others, to the extent possible (e.g., shorten appointment times, limit gatherings inside the salon, discourage clients from bringing additional people to appointments).
Wear a cloth mask in public and at work, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Cloth masks may prevent people who don’t know they have the virus from spreading it to others. Cloth masks are intended to protect other people—not the wearer. The spread of COVID-19 can be reduced when cloth masks are used along with other preventive measures, including social distancing. A universal face covering policy can be effective in preventing the transmission of the virus in close-contact interactions, including within a salon.
- Be careful when putting on and taking off cloth masks:
- Don’t touch the cloth mask while wearing it.
- Don’t touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes while taking off the cloth mask.
- Wash your hands before putting on and after taking off the cloth mask.
- Wash the cloth mask after each use.
- Consider carrying a spare cloth mask. If the cloth mask becomes wet, visibly soiled, or contaminated at work, it should be removed and stored to be laundered later.
- Cloth masks should not be worn if their use creates a new risk (for example, interferes with driving or vision, or contributes to heat-related illness) that exceeds their COVID-19 related benefits of slowing the spread of the virus. Cloth masks should also not be worn by children under the age of 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove the mask without assistance. CDC provides information on adaptations and alternatives that should be considered when cloth masks may not be feasible (e.g., people who are deaf or hard of hearing, have intellectual or developmental disabilities, or sensory sensitivities).
- If you are concerned about the use of cloth masks at your workplace, discuss your concerns with your employer.
- Encourage clients over the age of 2 to wear cloth masks.
When to Clean
Cleaning with products containing soap or detergent reduces germs on surfaces and objects by removing contaminants and may weaken or damage some of the virus particles, which decreases risk of infection from surfaces.
Cleaning high touch surfaces and shared objects once a day is usually enough to sufficiently remove virus that may be on surfaces unless someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 has been in your facility. Disinfecting (using disinfectants on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s List Nexternal iconexternal icon) removes any remaining germs on surfaces, which further reduces any risk of spreading infection. For more information on cleaning your facility regularly and cleaning your facility when someone is sick, see Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
When to Disinfect
You may want to either clean more frequently or choose to disinfect (in addition to cleaning) in shared spaces if certain conditions apply that can increase the risk of infection from touching surfaces.
- High transmission of COVID-19 in your community
- Low number of people wearing masks
- Infrequent hand hygiene
- The space is occupied by people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
If there has been a sick person or someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in your facility within the last 24 hours, you should clean AND disinfect the space.
Use Disinfectants Safely
Always follow standard practices and appropriate regulations specific to your facility for minimum standards for cleaning and disinfection. For more information on cleaning and disinfecting, see Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility.
Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You don’t need to wear gloves if you wash your hands regularly (unless they are already required for your job).
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if soap and water aren’t available.
- Wash your hands at these key times:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- After using the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After putting on, touching, or removing cloth masks
- Before and after work and work breaks
- Before and after each client
- After cleaning and disinfecting
Do not touch your face, mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Use tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
How to Cope with Stress
Mental health is an important part of worker safety and health. The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges in the ways many people work and connect with others, which may raise feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Information and resources about mental health, knowing signs of stress, taking steps to manage stress, and knowing where to go if you need help are available here.
How Your Employer Can Protect You
Your employer or the salon owner should develop a COVID-19 response plan and share it with you. We created a fact sheet to help your employer.
How To Get More Information
Talk to your employer or supervisor, or whoever is responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns. Use these sources for more information on reducing the risk of worker exposures to COVID-19:
- CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- CDC Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
- COVID-19 Employer Information for Office Buildings
- NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic: COVID-19
- CDC COVID-19
- OSHA COVID-19external icon
- OSHA Guidelines on Preparing Workplaces for COVIDpdf iconexternal icon
- ASHRAE Position Document on Infectious Aerosolspdf iconexternal icon
- Professional Beauty Associationpdf iconexternal icon
- American Barber Associationpdf iconexternal icon
- National Association of Barbersexternal icon
- AIHA Reopening: Guidance for Hair and Nail Salons pdf iconexternal icon
- Absence of Apparent Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from Two Stylists After Exposure at a Hair Salon with a Universal Face Covering Policy — Springfield, Missouri, May 2020
- CDCINFO: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) | TTY: 1-888-232-6348 | website: cdc.gov/info