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COVID-19 Guidance for Personal Service Settings

Updated May 14, 2021

Stay-at-Home Order & Shutdown

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate, a declaration of emergency and province-wide stay-at-home order are in effect as of Thursday, April 8, at 12:01 a.m until at least Wednesday, June 2, 2021. This is in addition to the province-wide shutdown that is in place as of Saturday, April 3, at 12:01 a.m. The COVID-19 Response Framework (colour-coded zones) is paused.

Learn about the measures to interrupt transmission of COVID-19, including general public health and workplace safety measures for businesses, organizations and facilities on the COVID-19 shutdown: enhanced public health and workplace safety measures page on the Province's website.


The following guidance provides operators with support in the re-opening process and provides direction to ensure the risk to employees and clients of contracting Covid-19 is minimal. Personal Service Settings must comply with the Ontario Personal Service Setting Regulation, in addition to Ontario's Emergency Orders and guidance from Porcupine Health Unit (PHU).

It is important to recognize that the COVID-19 situation is evolving very quickly. Please refer to our COVID-19 webpage to stay up-to-date on the latest information.

NEW! Rapid Testing for Workplaces

Wednesday, May 12, 2021: The province launched a new online portal for businesses to access free testing supplies for rapid testing to help keep employees and their families safe.

NEW! Increased Public Health Measures at the Workplace

Saturday, May 1, 2021: Read the letter to business owners and workplaces regarding recommended workplace safety measures including screening, ventilation and personal protective equipment.

Safety Plans

The safety plan will:

  • Describe measures/procedures that have been or will be implemented in the business, place, facility, or establishment to reduce spread of COVID-19.
  • Be in writing and made available to any person for review on request.
  • Be posted in a visible place to come to the attention of those working at, or attending, the location.


How to perform staff screening:

  • Actively screen every person who works at the business or organization before they enter the premises. Use the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces.
  • Prevent staff from working if:

    • They show any signs and/or symptoms of COVID-19 before, or during their shift;
    • They have come in close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or;
    • They have travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days.
    • If staff experience symptoms of COVID-19 during their shift, they should return home, self-isolate and call the local Assessment Centre, their primary care provider or the Porcupine Health Unit at 1-800-461-1818.
  • Employers must ensure that their employees are aware of the benefits/pay available to them, should they need to self-isolate due to COVID-19.
  • In addition to the above requirements, consider updating your business policies for managing staff member absences and for backfilling shifts in case of absence.

How to perform customer screening:

  • Post signs at all entrances to the premises of the business or organization, in a conspicuous location visible to the public, that inform individuals on how to screen themselves for COVID-19 prior to entering the premises.

Mask Requirements

Effective October 3, 2020, the Province updated the Ontario Regulation 364/20 that mandates the use of masks in all public indoor settings across Ontario which includes workplaces.

Transparent physical barriers can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, when used properly with other public health measures such as wearing a face covering, maintaining two (2) meters distance, frequent hand washing and proper cough/sneeze etiquette. A transparent physical barrier (i.e. plexiglass) does not replace the need for a face covering or mask.

A face covering or mask is required when:

  • Two (2) meters distance is not maintained between coworkers on the same side of the plexiglass OR opposite sides of the plexiglass;
  • A staff member is leaving their personal workspace; and
  • Staff is working in an indoor area that is accessible to the public.

Remember, transparent physical barriers must be cleaned and disinfected frequently.

Personal Protective Equipment, Including Eye Protection

  • The employer must determine what PPE is required and ensure that it is worn by workers.
  • Educate staff on the proper use and disposal of masks and PPE.

    • Gloves are not a substitute for proper hand hygiene, as they do not guarantee that foods or surfaces are not contaminated. Gloves should always be worn when a staff member or volunteer handling food has a break in their skin or has a bandage that is covering a wound. In the event you should need to or choose to wear gloves:
    • Wash your hands properly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before you put on gloves.
    • Do not touch your face or mask with your gloves on.
    • Do not touch personal items, such as a cell phone, while wearing gloves. Throw the gloves out in a closed garbage bin right away after use and wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Do not re-use gloves that are made for one use
  • Protective eyewear is required if a worker needs to come within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a face covering, and not separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.

Staff and Client Records

  • Maintain an attendance log for employees, including start and end times of their shifts.
  • In the Orange Zone, the person responsible for the establishment must,
    • record the name and contact information of every patron,
    • maintain the records for a period of at least one month, and
    • only disclose the records to a medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on request for a purpose specified in section 2 of that Act or as otherwise required by law.

General Operations & Physical Distancing

  • In the Orange zone, no personal care services that require the removal of a mask or face covering may be provided.
  • Oxygen bars, steam rooms and saunas must be closed.
  • Sensory deprivation pods are closed, with limited exceptions.
  • Ensure physical distancing of at least 2 metres between staff and customers.
  • Modify the layout and use signage to encourage one-way traffic flow and to ensure enough space is provided for staff and customers to maintain physical distancing.
  • Ensure enough space for people in high traffic areas and places where people may gather.
  • Identify areas where crowding and bottlenecks are common, such as lobbies, washrooms, and use staff or barriers to redirect people who may gather in these areas.
  • Provide visible cues such as tape, stickers or safety cones every two metres/six feet for customers lining up when waiting outside.
  • Limit entrances to control the number of staff and customers entering the premise at any given time.
  • Consider designating one door for entry and another for exit.
  • Place markers or circles indoors so the clients know where to stand when interacting with staff (example waiting in line at the reception area).
  • Install plexiglass and other barriers if possible, where there will be close contact between staff and clients, (e.g. between workstations, sink areas and at the checkout).
  • Provide hand sanitizer for client and employee use as they enter and exit.
  • Arrange workstations to maintain 2 metres/6 feet of distancing between clients.
  • Remove non-essential furniture, to allow ease of movement for physical distancing.
  • Encourage the use of masks/face coverings for customers waiting/lining-up outside (masks are mandatory indoors).

Hand Hygiene

  • Educate employees on proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
    • Wash hands with liquid soap and warm water for at least 15 - 20 seconds frequently, before and after the handling of PPE and after each client interaction.
    • Cover cough or sneeze with elbow or a tissue. Immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash hands.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with 70-90% alcohol concentration) in a dispenser for employees and customers to use.
  • Continue to ensure a supply of soap and paper towels are located at all hand wash stations and washrooms within the personal service setting.
  • All individuals should be encouraged to perform hand hygiene when entering and leaving the premises.

Retail Items

  • Remove product testers.
  • Ask customers to avoid unnecessary handling of retail product.
  • Reduce the amount of retail products displayed, e.g nail polish, make-up, and jewellery to reduce handling and allow for easier cleaning.

For retail-only sales, arrange in advance and schedule a pickup time to avoid overlapping of service clients. Consult the Workplace Safety & Prevention Services Guidance on Health and Safety for Curbside Pickup and Delivery Services during COVID-19.

Cleaning and Disinfection

Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. The following cleaning and disinfection recommendations aim to reduce the risks associated with surface transmission. Remember to clean surfaces first, then disinfect them.

Cleaning, and disinfection or sterilization of surfaces, tools and equipment are to continue as indicated in the Ontario Personal Services Setting Regulation after every use.  

Develop and implement procedures for the cleaning and disinfection or sterilization practices for employees.

  • Refer to Health Canada’s list of hard surface disinfectants for use against COVID-19.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions on any products being used:
    • properly prepare solutions;
    • allow adequate contact time for disinfectant to kill germs (see product label);
    • wear gloves when handling cleaning products, including wipes;
    • wear any other personal protective equipment recommended by the manufacturer;
    • do not mix different cleaning or disinfecting products; and
    • in addition to routine cleaning, surfaces that have frequent contact with hands should be cleaned and disinfected twice per day and when visibly dirty.


  • If possible, encourage patrons to pay by debit or credit card (tap if possible).
  • Staff should wipe the machine and use sanitizer immediately after each interaction.
  • Staff may choose to wear gloves. If they do so, they should practice proper glove use.
  • All cashiers should have hand sanitizer at their cash.


  • Dirty towels and linens must be placed in a lined laundry bin for washing with hot water and detergent using a washing machine. Dryers should be used as the heat further kills any viruses.
  • Laundry baskets or reusable bags must be cleaned and disinfected between uses and should not be used for clean towels/capes.
  • For each new client all clean linens and capes are to be used.
    • Clean and disinfect capes between clients.

Staff Training and Education

It is essential that all staff members receive training and education on all modified and new policies, procedures and practices prior to working directly with patrons and colleagues.

  • Active screening for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Actions to take if they experience symptoms of illness
  • Proper use of approved cleaning and disinfecting products
  • Cleaning protocols to sanitize reusable items between uses
  • Procedures for environmental cleaning
  • How to properly wear and use masks and face coverings
  • How to properly use gloves, face shields and other personal protective equipment if required by the employer
  • Maintaining physical distance of at least 2 metres when possible.

For more information, visit our COVID-19 Businesses and Workplaces webpage or call and speak to a Public Health Inspector at 1-800-461-1818.