How Does A Hair Salon Safely Reopen? Georgia Issues Guidance As Trump Says 'Too Soon'

By Susan Jones | April 23, 2020 | 6:49am EDT
(File Photo by Phil Schermeister/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
(File Photo by Phil Schermeister/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

( - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's directive to "incrementally and safely reopen sectors of our economy" includes barbershops and hair salons -- places where social distancing is difficult if not impossible to achieve.

President Trump, who has called for governors to "liberate" their states, surprised many people on Wednesday when he said he'd told Gov. Kemp "that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities."

"I think spas and beauty salons and tattoo parlors and barbershops in phase just too soon. I think it's too soon," Trump said.

"I love those people that use all of those things -- the spas and the beauty parlors and barbershops, tattoo parlors. I love them, but they can wait a little bit longer, just a little bit, not much, because safety has to predominate."

But at the same time, Trump said, Kemp "must do what he thinks is right."

The Georgia State Board of Cosmetology and Barbers has now issued guidance for the safe reopening of Georgia's salons and spas.

"I am very happy that Governor Kemp decided that we can reopen our salons and spas," said Board Chair Kay Kendrick. "We have 95,000 licensees under our board, most of whom are independent contractors that have no other source of income."

Kendrick noted that current sanitation laws and rules already protect clients. And because of the coronavirus pandemic, salons and spas are being asked to follow new guidelines.

In a nutshell, gone are the days when you could flip through a magazine while waiting in the shop for a haircut. You can expect a health check at the door. And paying in cash is discouraged.

The new guidelines include:

-- Temperature Checks: Salons should consider use of a touchless infrared thermometer to check the temperature of employees each day and of each client who enters the salon/shop.

-- Screening Questions: Ask each client entering the shop the following questions - Have you had a cough? Have you had a fever? Have you been around anyone exhibiting these symptoms within the past 14 days? Are you living with anyone who is sick or quarantined?

-- Limit People In Shops/Salons: Salons/shops should consider seeing clients by appointment only. Salons/shops should consider telephonic or online scheduling. Limit the number of persons in the waiting area of the salon/shop. It is recommended that clients wait outside the salon/shop in their vehicle until the cosmetologist or barber is ready to serve them. It is recommended that persons not being serviced in the salon/shop wait outside the salon/shop.

-- Maintain Social Distancing: Spacing between persons in the salon should be at least six feet at all times. Salons/shops should consider additional spacing between booths, divider shields, and/or alternate work schedules.

--Use of Personal Protective Equipment and Best Practices: Salon/shop employees will be required to wear masks at all times. Salons may want to consider providing masks to clients. Clients should wear face masks to the extent possible while receiving services. Salons/shops should also make use of face shields, gloves, disposable or re-washable capes, smocks, neck strips, etc. These items should be disinfected or disposed of between each client. Employees should arrive at the salon/shop showered and wearing clean clothing and change clothes before leaving the salon/shop each day. Hand washing with soap and warm water, for a minimum of 20 seconds will be required by employees between every client service.

-- Disinfection: 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. Salons/shops should maintain regular disinfection of all tools, shampoo bowls, pedicure bowls, workstations, treatment rooms, and restrooms. Additionally, salons/shops should remove all unnecessary items (magazines, newspapers, service menus, and any other unnecessary paper products/decor) from reception areas and ensure that these areas and regularly touched surfaces are consistently wiped down, disinfected, and that hand sanitizer is readily available to clients and staff. Avoiding the exchange of cash can help 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/no signature technology.

-- Administration: Employees who are sick will be expected to stay home. Salon/shop owners/managers should provide training, educational materials, and reinforcement on proper sanitation, hand washing, cough and sneeze etiquette, use of PPE, and other protective behaviors. Ensure break rooms are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized and not used for congregating by employees. Be flexible with work schedules/salon hours to reduce the number of people (employees and clients) in salons/shops at all times in order to maintain social distancing.

"As we begin the process of safely reopening our economy, it is critical that business owners, operators, and contractors adhere strictly to increased safety and sanitation guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Gov. Brian Kemp said. "Working together, I am confident that we can get these sectors back online and work to ensure the health and safety of all Georgians."


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