EXPLAINED | This is how personal care services must operate under advanced level 3 lockdown

Hairdressing is legal again, but under strict regulations.                                                                               Image: Esa Alexander

Rules have been put in place for the reopening of personal care services, including hair and nail salons, after businesses have been closed for more than two months.

From Friday, all salons and tattoo and massage parlours got the green light to reopen for business.

While many gear up to fill in their seats with clients, for some it may take time to get back on their feet.

Here are some of the rules services should abide by:

Permitted services 

The new guidelines for the personal care industry are part of the revised level 3 lockdown rules.

According to the government gazette, services deemed safe to resume operations include hairdressing, barbering, nail and toe treatment, facial treatment and make-up, body massage as well as tattooing and body piercing.

“The permitted services under these directions may only commence with operations upon ensuring full compliance with the relevant protocols for their services.”


All businesses must follow the same strict hygiene protocols required of other businesses.

Social distancing between customers and staff is required “wherever possible” and so are “more protective masks for close facial contact”.

Gloves “required for treatment” should be changed after each client and should not be shared in any conditions. Aprons must be changed after serving each customer, and reuse can only be done after the item has been washed with water and soap.


The gazette said businesses, formal and informal, should encourage pre-booking appointments to avoid long queues and waiting periods.

Employees older than 60 or with comorbidities “must be discouraged” from working, and staff and customers who have flu-like symptoms must not be allowed to work or to enter the premises.

Businesses are encouraged to maintain a register of customers and people who enter each day for tracing purposes.

No drinking 

Guests are not permitted in salons or tattoo studios, and no drinks or food may be served during treatments.

Where work stations cannot be at least 1.5m apart, they must have “cleanable partitions” to separate them.

Formal and informal salons should set a time limit for each treatment to minimise unnecessary interactions with customers.

No touching faces

Although massage and piercings are allowed, “no unnecessary touching and no scalp, neck, shoulders and arms massages at the basin” are allowed.

Tattoo parlours are required to use nitrile gloves, not the usual latex. These regulations apply to both formal and informal salons.

Only squirt bottles may be used for tattoo cleaning and no spray bottles as this “causes the liquid to become airborne”.

The latest government gazette can be accessed here.



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