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Government publishes protocols for personal care services

On 19 June the Government gazetted the long awaited protocols that will allow salons to finally offer treatment services again, after having been in lockdown since 27 March.

The protocols came into effect immediately and, as such, only salons that fully comply with all the regulations published in Government Gazette are allowed to resume operations. Failure to adhere could mean being shut down again.

While the regulations are lengthy and in-depth, they do emphasise the following: the frequent washing of hands with fresh, warm water and soap (before and after treating each customer and after handling cash); wearing cloth masks at all times (and more protective masks for close facial contact); social distancing between customers and staff where possible; and having a hand washing / sanitisation station outside the entrance of the premises, among many other regulations

Minister for Small Business Development, Khumbudzo Ntshavhenl, published the regulations in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002), in order to provide protocols to mitigate and manage the COVID-19 outbreak amongst employees and customers in the personal care services industry, as per Table 2 (7) of Alert Level 3 Regulations.

The categories of services that are deemed safe to resume operations are: Hairdressing; Barbering; Nail and toe treatment; Facial treatment and make-up; Body massage; and Tattooing and body piercing.

The Government Gazette states: ‘These protocols are issued in order to assist Personal Care services industry (formal and informal), to comply with the Lockdown Regulations. All personal care businesses will comply with all applicable COVID-19 State of Disaster Regulations, Guidelines, Notices, Directives and Protocols as issued by the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) in respect of operations, employees and the workplace.

“These protocols do not replace the Regulations and Directives issued. They put in place additional guidelines to ensure that those providing or obtaining personal care services do so in a manner that minimises the risk of transmission of SAR -CoV-2 virus causing COVID.”

The regulations stipulate strict protocols for the cleaning of premises and equipment. Premises must be cleaned before and after use; common areas must be disinfected before and after use, including after serving each customer; each item of equipment or tool must be sanitised or washed with soap and water before and after each use; and all bottles with products must be wiped down with a 70% alcohol solution after serving each customer and at the end and beginning of each business day. Fresh and clean towels must be used for each customer and salons / spas are encouraged to keep windows/ doors open, if possible, to ensure adequate ventilation.

Employers are mandated to arrange adequate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for employees (including visors and face masks if required); stylists must also wear a face shield/ visor that must be cleaned after serving each customer. The mask must be worn as per the Guidelines of the Department of Health; and no customer will be served without wearing a mask. Aprons must be changed after serving each customer and can only be reused after the apron has been washed with water and soap. Where gloves are required for treatments, they should be changed after each client and should not be shared under any conditions.

In terms of social distancing, businesses must encourage pre-booking appointments to avoid queues. Customers must maintain a 1.5m distance between each other and salons must only allow customers inside if the 1.5 -meter distance can be maintained. The 1.5 meter distances must be clearly marked/ demarcated at waiting areas.

It is the employer’s responsibility to explain the new procedures and schedules to all employees. Employees must notify the employer if they are tested positive or have been in contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive. The applicable COVID-19 protocols must be explained to each customer before they are treated. A notice for customers on COVID-19 protocols must be put up.

There are many more regulations that demand compliance. To read the full Government Gazette notice detailing the regulations click here

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