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COVID-19 Guidance for Personal Service Settings

Updated October 23, 2020

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 2 meters distance, frequent hand washing and proper cough/sneeze etiquette. See Mask Requirements.

As per the Province of Ontario announcement on Stage 2 Re-Opening, select services within Personal Service Settings (PSS) will be allowed to reopen on June 12, 2020.  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).

What is COVID-19? 

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is known to cause infection in the respiratory system. COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person through direct contact or over short distances by droplets through coughing or sneezing. A person may also get COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly eyes. Symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and pneumonia, and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19, although carriers may also show no symptoms. PHU encourages all organizations and agencies to implement their own internal policies for the protection of staff, volunteers, and clients.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the Ontario Government self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.

Support and encourage behaviours to reduce the spread of germs 

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Keep a two metre/six feet distance from others, when possible.
  • Limit the number of people you come into close contact with.
  • Wash your hands often, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Wear a face mask or covering when you are in a public setting.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

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

Service-specific checklists are available for the following:

  1. Hair Salons and Barber Shops COVID-19 Prevention Checklist
  2. Nails and Aesthetic Services COVID-19 Prevention Checklist
  3. Tattooing and Body Piercing COVID-19 Prevention Checklist

General Operations & Physical Distancing


  • 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)
  • Direct traffic flow within the business (e.g. using arrows on the floor)
  • 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


  • Limit and stagger customer appointments to allow adequate space to maintain physical distancing between customers and staff
  • Limiting hours of operation or setting specific hours for at-risk patrons
  • Allow time between appointments to ensure workstations can be properly cleaned and disinfected
  • Do not allow clients to bring guests to the appointment, including children.
  • Avoid having clients wait in a reception area. Ask clients to call when they arrive and wait outside or in their car.
  • Ask clients not to arrive more than 5 minutes before their appointment
  • Walk-in clients must call from outside the business or in their cars before they can enter

Common Areas

  • Perform a thorough cleaning and disinfection of all surfaces prior to opening
  • Remove all communal items that cannot be easily cleaned, such as newspapers, magazines and stuffed toys
  • Remove cushions, and rugs that cannot be easily cleaned and sanitized
  • Use tap features at checkout instead of cash, where possible
  • Food/beverages should not be supplied to clients at this time, unless in extraordinary circumstances (e.g. tattooing on a client who feels faint). Clients should not bring outside food or beverages into the PSS unless required for a medical condition Staff and break areas should be arranged to encourage physical distancing practices.
  • Encourage staggered break times to discourage staff from congregating in lunch and common areas.


Operator & Staff Considerations

Staff Scheduling

  • Consider creating cohorts of staff who work together and who do not interact with other cohorts. This will assist in reducing transmission throughout the workplace in the event that an employee becomes ill. 
  • Stagger or adjust working hours and shifts to reduce the number of staff in your business.



  • Staff are advised to report illness to their supervisor/manager and to stay home if sick.
  • If employees develop symptoms while at work, they should notify their supervisor and return home. Employees with symptoms should visit our main Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 webpage for the latest guidance on next steps.
  • Testing is available for all Porcupine Health Unit residents that suspect they have Covid-19. Residents can call their health care provider or the health unit to get tested at an Assessment Centre.
  • Once the ill staff has left the workplace, clean and disinfect all surfaces and areas with which they may have come in contact
  • Remind employees to avoid touching the face (eyes, nose and mouth) while providing services to clients

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • The Province of Ontario has produced a Workplace PPE Supplier Directory for businesses to acquire PPE as needed for employees.
  • Staff who are providing personal services are required to wear appropriate PPE when providing client services. Minimally, a mask must be worn by staff; learn more about masks or face coverings.
  • Provide staff training on the proper use of PPE and the importance of other infection prevention and control measures (e.g. hand hygiene, physical distancing). Visit Public Health Ontario for videos on putting on and taking off PPE.
  • Staff should receive clear instructions on the proper use of masks, when and how to safely put on and take off a mask
  • Wearing a cloth mask or face covering will protect others from the wearer’s respiratory droplets and germs
  • Use of disposable gloves is NOT a substitute for proper hand hygiene
  • When gloves are removed, new gloves must be used each time. Wash hands with soap and water for 15-20 second before putting on and after taking off gloves
  • If goggles and face shields are used, they should be labelled to the one assigned staff and disinfected routinely
  • When gowns, arm barriers, or aprons are used, remove immediately after the service
  • Discard disposable items into the nearest waste container.
  • Do not reuse the gowns, arm barriers or aprons unless they are intended for reuse and are laundered between use, as per manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Ensure hand hygiene is performed after removing any/all items of PPE
  • Employees should not share PPE.

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.

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
  • Staff is working in an indoor area that is accessible to the public

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

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 2meters distance, frequent hand washing and proper cough/sneeze etiquette. 

Customer Considerations


  • Screen clients over the phone prior to booking and, if possible, using the Ontario Government self-assessment tool.
  • Place posters at the entrance to ensure clients do not enter if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • People with symptoms of COVID-19 should not be allowed into the premise to avoid spreading the virus to staff and other clients.
  • Offer to reschedule appointment for clients, when they are sick.
  • Clients must wear a mask or face covering when receiving personal services. Masks are not recommended for children under the age of two.
  • Clients should be advised of the use of a mask/face covering when booking their appointment.


  • Cloth masks or face covers must be worn by customers
  • Provide disposable single-use masks for clients who have not brought their own. Masks or face coverings are not to be re-used on multiple clients.
  • For clients who cannot tolerate a mask or face covering, the appointment should be made at the end of the day when there are no other clients on site.

Staff and Client Records

  • Ensure that all employee and volunteer work schedules are up to date
  • Ensure that all client information is recorded for all services provided onsite, client records must contain the following;
    • Clients first and last name,
    • Contact information,
    • Date of service,
    • Service(s) and
    • Name of service provided
  • Consider providing online options for paper documents (e.g. aftercare information) to clients to avoid the handling of paper, clipboards and pens by multiple people

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

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.

Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfection

Cleaning is the action of removing visible dirt with soap, water and friction. Cleaning does not kill germs but is effective in removing them from a surface. 

Disinfection kills germs on a surface using a chemical.  Disinfection is only effective if the surfaces have already been cleaned.

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.


  • Where possible use disposable, single-use supplies (e.g. paper towels).
  • Use only disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada.
  • 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
  • Check expiry dates of all products
  • Properly label all chemical spray bottles as per the Ontario Personal Service Setting Regulation


  • Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfection occurs of high-touch surfaces; door handles, counters, cabinet doors, light switches, faucets, handrails, touchscreen surfaces and keypads.
  • Ensure common areas (e.g. reception, washrooms, staff rooms) are cleaned and disinfected frequently throughout the day.
  • Chlorine bleach solutions may be prepared and used for disinfection if appropriate for the surface.


  • Avoid sharing products or tools between workstations. If sharing is required, clean and disinfect products and tools between users.
  • Only use equipment that can be cleaned and disinfected/sterilized or disposed of between clients.
  • Clean and disinfect or sterilize all equipment and tools after each client service as per the Ontario Personal Service Setting Regulation for further details.
  • Ensure that barriers are included in the cleaning and disinfecting protocols.


  • 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.

Service-specific checklists are available for the following:

  1. Hair Salons and Barber Shops COVID-19 Prevention Checklist
  2. Nails and Aesthetic Services COVID-19 Prevention Checklist
  3. Tattooing and Body Piercing COVID-19 Prevention Checklist

For more information, visit our website at or call and speak to a Public Health Inspector at 1-800-461-1818.