This guidance is to support owners/operators of personal services settings (also known as personal care services) to protect staff and clients from COVID-19. Personal service settings (PSS) include hairstyling and barbering, tattooing, micropigmentation, ear and body piercing, electrolysis, nail salons, and aesthetic services. For information on reopening businesses and workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to the Guidance for Employers on Preventing COVID-19 in the Workplace.
The aim and purpose of this document is to assist individuals and businesses with information related to the Ontario Government’s reopening framework as well as Toronto Public Health requirements to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is important to know that breaches of some of these directions will constitute offences under provincial regulations or other public health legal requirements. While we aim to provide relevant and timely information, no guarantee can be given as to the accuracy or completeness of any information provided. This guidance is not intended to nor does it provide legal advice and should not be relied upon or treated as legal advice. Users seeking legal advice should consult with a qualified legal professional.
Toronto is currently in Step 2 of the province’s roadmap to reopen. This guidance document describes the requirements that personal service settings must comply with under Ontario Regulation 263/20 of the Reopening Ontario Act and Ontario Regulation 136/18, Personal Services Setting.
Closures (O. Reg. 263/20)
- Personal care services that require the removal of a mask or face covering are not permitted.
- Steam rooms and saunas or similar amenities made available to the public must be closed.
- Oxygen bars remain closed.
COVID-19 is an illness that is spread mainly from person-to-person through close contact from respiratory and aerosol droplets of someone with COVID-19. The respiratory droplets can travel up to two metres when we cough, sneeze or talk. Close proximity with an infected person remains the most common method of transmission, whether the infected person is showing symptoms or not.
Protective Measures to Keep Everyone Safe
- Get a COVID-19 vaccination.
- Stay home when you are sick, even if the symptoms are mild.
- Keep a two metre distance from others, when possible.
- Wash your hands often, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
- Masks must be worn when you are in an indoor public setting and when physical distancing is difficult.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Music must not be played at a decibel level that exceeds the level at which normal conversation is possible.
Capacity Limits & Physical Distancing
The person responsible for a place of business or facility that is open to the public shall limit the number of members of the public in the place of business or facility so that,
- the members of the public are able to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the business or facility; and
- the total number of members of the public in the business or facility at any one time does not exceed 50 per cent capacity
- 50 per cent capacity is determined by taking 50 per cent of the maximum occupant load of the business or facility, or part of a business or facility, as applicable, as calculated in accordance with Ontario Regulation 213/07 (Fire Code), made under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997.
- Remove non-essential furniture to allow ease of movement.
- Post a sign in a conspicuous location visible to the public that states the capacity limits under which the establishment is permitted to operate.
- No member of the public may be permitted to enter the premises except by appointment.
- Monitor entrances to control the number of staff and clients entering the premises at any given time.
- Reduce the length and number of client appointments held each day to ensure physical distancing can still be maintained.
- Provide visible cues such as tape, stickers or safety cones every two metres for clients lining up when waiting outside.
- Post physical distancing signs at all entrances, by cashiers or service counters.
- Place markers or circles indoors so the clients know where to stand when interacting with staff.
- Install plexiglass or other barriers, if possible, where physical distancing cannot be maintained between staff and clients; for example, between workstations and at the checkout.
Note: this does not reduce the requirement for staff to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) (i.e. medical/surgical mask and eye protection, such as goggles or face shields), for clients to wear masks/coverings, and for everyone to practice physical distancing when possible.
- No member of the public may be permitted to be in the premises except for the period of time during which they are receiving personal care services. Clients cannot wait in the waiting area.
- Staff should remind clients to stay two metres apart, as much as possible.
- Staff should not gather together in a lunchroom/common areas.
Promote proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
- Provide hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration) in a dispenser for staff and clients to use.
- Encourage clients to use hand sanitizer when they enter the premise.
- Ensure there is an adequate supply of soap and paper towels at all times.
- Post Hand Washing, Cover your Cough and Hand Sanitizing signs in highly visible locations.
- Educate staff on hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette:
- Wash hands frequently with liquid soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Clean hands before and after the handling of PPE and after each interaction.
- Cover cough or sneeze with the elbow or a tissue. Immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash hands.
- Use tap features at checkout instead of cash, where possible.
Facilitate clients’ proper use of masks or face coverings
- All clients must wear a mask or face covering when indoors and receiving service.
- City of Toronto bylaw requires that businesses with indoor spaces that are open to the public develop a policy on the wearing of masks. Use the Mask By-law Checklist and Sample Policy.
- Personal care services that require the removal of a mask or face covering are not permitted ( Reg 263/20).
- If possible, provide disposable masks for clients who have not brought their own.
- Not all clients are able to tolerate a mask and may be exempted. Masks or face coverings should not be used by children under the age of two, and anyone who has trouble breathing.
- Businesses are not required (or permitted) to ask for proof of an exemption.
- Consider alternative ways to provide services to clients who are unable to wear a mask. For example, providing service at the end of the day without other clients present, or using physical barriers (e.g. plexiglass), and maintain physical distance when possible. Ensure staff use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) which includes a medical mask and eye protection when providing services to clients who are unable to wear a mask.
Train staff on proper use of Personal Protective Equipment and Masks
- Train staff on the proper use of medical masks and personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Staff shall wear appropriate PPE that provides protection of the person’s eyes, nose and mouth if, in the course of providing services, the person is:
- Required to come within two metres of another person who is not wearing a mask or face covering in a manner that covers that person’s mouth, nose and chin, during any period when that person is in an indoor area; and
- Is not separated by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier from a person when within two metres of another person who is not wearing a mask or face covering while indoors.
- Staff must use PPE when providing personal services to a client who is exempted from wearing a mask or who has removed their mask for the purposes of service.
- Wearing PPE will protect staff from the respiratory droplets of others who are not masked. This includes a medical mask and eye protection (e.g. face shield).
- A face shield is not a substitute for a mask. A mask must still be worn under a face shield.
- All staff must wear a medical mask. Staff may remove their mask in an area not accessible by the public (e.g. lunch room/private office) if they can maintain at least two metres physical distance from other staff.
- Staff should not share masks or PPE.
- Discard masks when moist or dirty.
- When eye protection, such as goggles or face shields are used, they should be labelled to the assigned staff and disinfected between uses.
- Staff must change their gloves when changing tasks and after every client, or more often, as necessary. 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 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration) before putting on and after taking off gloves.
Measures for all Workplaces, Organizations & Businesses
Review the Guidance for Employers on Preventing COVID-19 in the Workplace to plan and implement protocols to keep staff and customers safe, including:
- Health screening for staff and customers
- Staff and clients must be actively screened prior to entering the business.
- Use a client screening tool / guidance
- Offer to reschedule appointments for clients, when they are sick.
- Staff attendance and operations
- Assign a compliance officer to ensure implementation of occupational health and safety and infection prevention & control measures.
- Cleaning and disinfection
- Cleaning, disinfecting or sterilization of items should continue as indicated in the Personal Services Setting Regulation, including tools, equipment, shampoo bowls, manicure tables, chairs, workstations, etc., and other products after every use.
- Allow additional time between client appointments for proper cleaning and disinfecting of workstations and equipment.
- Where possible, use disposable, single-use supplies.
- Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
- Ensure hand sanitizer (70-90% alcohol concentration) and hand-washing facilities are provided in work and rest areas throughout the facility.
- Ensure an adequate supply of liquid soap, paper towel, hand sanitizer, tissues, and waste receptacles throughout the workplace, and in washrooms.
- Managing COVID-19 in the workplace
- Contact information of all clients is mandatory under O. Regulation 136/20 with the exception of hairdressing and barbering services. It is highly recommended that hairdressing and barbering premises maintain client records to support public health contact tracing efforts (i.e. name, date, time, email address or phone number). Keep for 30 days and then shred.
- A safety plan must be prepared and made available. The safety plan must:
- Describe measures/procedures that have been or will be implemented in the business, place, facility or establishment to reduce spread of COVID
- Include measures for screening, physical distancing, masks, cleaning, disinfecting, PPE and preventing and controlling crowding.
- 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 or attending the location.
- Use the COVID-19 Safety Plan Checklist to develop your safety plan.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
- Ensure the HVAC system(s) are properly maintained.
- Increase outdoor air-exchange by:
- maximizing the outdoor air ratio of the HVAC system settings, or
- open windows and doors, if it is safe to do so.
- Use the highest efficiency filters that are compatible with the HVAC system.
- Keep seating and activities away from air vents and areas with high airflow.
- Do not obstruct HVAC inlets and outlets.
- When using ceiling fans, use an upward airflow rotation.
- If portable fans are used, position fan with an upward movement to avoid blowing of air across people and surfaces.
- There is no evidence the use of portable air purifiers will prevent the spread of COVID-19. If used, follow the manufacturer’s directions to decide where best to place the device. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on maintenance.
- For more information, review the COVID-19: Transmission, Aerosols and Ventilation fact sheet.
- Regular detergent can be used for laundering towels and linens.
- Clean and disinfect laundry baskets and launder reusable bags between uses. Do not use the same basket to carry or store clean items.
Increase public health awareness
- Inform clients about the changes you have made to protect them against COVID-19, including by posting signs, updating information to your website or voice mail, etc.
- Encourage staff and customers to download the COVID Alert app so they can be notified directly if they have been in close contact with someone who was contagious with COVID-19.
- Download information and display information in high-visibility areas in your setting to promote messages about how to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Service-specific checklists are available for the following:
Ontario Public Health Measures and Advice
Guidance for Employers on Preventing COVID-19 in the Workplace
Guidance for Employers on Managing COVID-19 in the Workplace
Guide to Infection Prevention and Control in Personal Service Settings, 3rd Edition
Province of Ontario Guidance to Prevent COVID-19 in the Workplace
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety COVID-19 Tip Sheets
For more information visit toronto.ca/COVID19 to stay up to date. Information for Personal Service Settings is also available at BodySafe or 416-338-BODY (2639).
Download this information as a PDF.