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Are barber shops, nail salons, massage parlors, spas, and tattoo parlors open? What safety precautions must they take?

Last Updated: 03/19/2021

Note: If there is no unexpected surge in COVID-19 numbers, on Wednesday, May 19, percentage-based indoor and outdoor capacity limits will be lifted. Instead, businesses must limit indoor and outdoor capacity to a number that ensures all individuals or groups of people can remain six feet apart.

The following types of personal care businesses may reopen in New Jersey so long as they adopt the required social distancing and safety protocols:

  • Beauty salons;
  • Barber shops;
  • Cosmetology shops
  • Spas, including day spas and medical spas – but saunas, steam rooms, or shared bathing facilities remain closed;
  • Electrology facilities;
  • Hair braiding shops;
  • Massage parlors;
  • Nail salons;
  • Tanning salons; and
  • Tattoo parlors.

Personal care businesses must also follow health and safety standards issued by the Department of Health and the Division of Consumer Affairs.

Mask Requirement

Under Executive Order No. 192, all employees, customers, and visitors must wear a face covering while on the premises, except when an individual is under two years of age or where it is impractical like when eating, drinking, or receiving a service that cannot be completed while wearing a mask.

Employees, customers, and visitors who refuse to wear a face covering may be declined entry, except when doing so would violate State or federal law and provided the employer complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination where applicable.

Employers may permit employees to remove their face covering when they are at their workstation at least six feet from others or alone in a walled space such as an office. Employers must provide face coverings to their employees.

For more details and exemptions, refer to page 4 of Executive Order No. 192.

What to Expect at Personal Care Businesses

The following summarizes some of the protocols contained in EO 154, EO 157, EO 192, EO 194, EO 230; DCA protocols for cosmetology, hairstyling, massage therapy, and bodywork services, and DOH protocols for tanning facilities and body art establishments. However, this summary is not a replacement for fully complying with all health and safety standards and businesses should read full guidance carefully to ensure full compliance.

Cosmetology, hairstyling, massage, and bodywork businesses must follow the following guidelines:

  • Limiting indoor capacity to 50 percent, excluding the facility's employees
  • Limiting services to appointment-only;
  • Performing prescreening and temperature checks of clients and staff prior to entering the facility;
  • Ensuring staff-client pairs remain at least six feet apart unless separated by physical barriers;
  • Requiring use of personal protective equipment, and requiring clients to wear face coverings, unless face down on a massage table or where doing so would inhibit an individual's health;
  • Discourage, or remove from service offerings, any services on the face that would require clients to remove their face covering. If such services are offered, at minimum, advise clients that removal of face coverings increases the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and confirm with the client that they consent to such services;
  • Adopting enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices; and
  • Staying informed about new developments and guidance related to COVID-19.

Tattoo parlors and tanning salons must follow the following guidelines:

  • Requiring appointments;
  • Performing prescreening and temperature checks of clients and staff prior to entering the facility
  • Recommending clients wait in cars or away from facility if the waiting area cannot accommodate social distancing;
  • Require all employees to wear face coverings when inside the facility and establishment and when in contact with clients;
  • Customers are required to wear face coverings inside the facility or establishment at all times. Clients receiving tanning services utilizing a tanning booth can remove the face covering once stationed in their assigned bed/booth. Personal care services requiring the removal of a client's face covering are allowed, provided that clients wear a face covering at all times before and after this service; and
  • Adopting appropriate infection control, disinfection, and sanitization practices.

Requirements to Protect Employees and Others

Employers must comply with the following requirements:

  • Require workers and customers to maintain at least six feet of distance from one another, to the maximum extent possible;
  • Provide approved sanitization materials for employees and visitors at no cost to those individuals;
  • Ensure that employees practice hand hygiene and provide employees with sufficient break time for that purpose;
  • Routinely clean and disinfect all high-touch areas in accordance with DOH and CDC guidelines;
  • Prior to each shift, conduct daily health checks, such as temperature screenings, visual symptom checking, self-assessment checklists, and/or health questionnaires, consistent with CDC guidance;
  • Do not allow sick employees to enter workplace and follow requirements of applicable leave laws; and
  • Promptly notify employees of any known exposure to COVID-19 at the worksite; and
  • Clean and disinfect the worksite in accordance with CDC guidelines when an employee at the site has been diagnosed with COVID-19 illness.

Detailed requirements and exemptions for certain employers can be found in the full text of Executive Order No. 192.

Source: Executive Order No. 154, DCA Administrative Order No. 2020-11, DOH Executive Directive No. 20-015; Executive Order No. 157; Executive Order No. 192; Executive Order No. 194; Executive Order No. 219; Executive Order No. 230