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GUIDANCE FOR BARBER SHOPS AND BARBER SCHOOL CLINICS Permitted to Operate During the Green Phase to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees and the Public ​

(issued 6-14-2020;  10-15-2020; last updated 4-4-2021)


The virus that causes the Coronavirus 2019 Disease ("COVID-19") is easily transmitted, especially in group settings, and it is essential that the spread of the virus be slowed to safeguard public health and safety.

COVID-19 can be transmitted from infected individuals even if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are mild. It can also be spread by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes. This guidance document addresses the procedures businesses in the barbering industry must follow to limit the spread of COVID-19 to the extent they are permitted to conduct in-person operations.


All businesses in the barbering industry and barber schools offering services to the public are permitted to resume operations in counties which have been designated in the Green Phase, so long as they adhere to the requirements of this guidance and any applicable statutes and regulations.

Strict adherence to applicable orders of the Governor and the Secretary of Health is also required. This includes, but is not limited to, the mitigation and enforcement orders issued on November 23, 2020, and any amendments to those orders including the occupancy limit increases, effective April 4, 2021, that allow barbershops, hair and nail salons, spas, saunas, tattoo parlors, massage therapists and other personal care service businesses to operate at up to 75% occupancy, with service-by-appointment-only highly encouraged.

All barber school clinics under the auspices of the Pennsylvania Department of Education also must adhere to any applicable statutes, regulations and guidance regarding operation and opening of the school.

Additionally, all businesses should refer and adhere to the Governor's guidance on reopening businesses, available here:

No business is required to conduct operations and should not do so if the business is unable to do so in accordance with all applicable guidance.

For purposes of this guidance, the term "employees" refers to both licensed and unlicensed employees, including apprentices, working in a business or school subject to this guidance.

As used herein, and pursuant to the July 1, 2020, Order of the Secretary of Health, the term "face covering" means a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face. A "face covering" can be made of a variety of synthetic or natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, or linen. For purposes of this guidance, a face covering includes a plastic face shield that covers the nose and mouth. "Face coverings" may be factory-made, sewn by hand, or be improvised from household items, including but not limited to, scarfs, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. While procedural and surgical masks intended for healthcare providers and first responders meet these requirements, such as N95 respirators, these specialized masks should be reserved for appropriate occupational and health care settings.


It is the policy of the Administration to ensure that all businesses and schools subject to this guidance conduct their operations in the manner best designed to prevent or mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of their employees, students and the communities in which their businesses and schools reside or serve. All businesses and schools, even those that are authorized to maintain in-person operations, must minimize opportunities for personal interaction because such interactions provide greater opportunities for the transmission of COVID-19. PLEASE NOTE: FACE COVERINGS ARE STILL REQUIRED EVEN FOR PERSONS WHO HAVE BEEN FULLY OR PARTIALLY VACCINATED.


The State Board of Barber Examiners' regulations require barber shops and barber schools to operate in an orderly and sanitary manner. All barber shop owners and employees, and barber school administrators, educators and students must also follow all health and safety guidelines provided in the Barbers' License Law and Board's regulations.


Failure to strictly adhere to the requirements of this guidance, the Barbers' License Law and the Board's Regulations may result in disciplinary action up to and including license suspension.

Inspectors from the Department of State, Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation may investigate complaints and conduct random inspections of barber shops.

Law enforcement officers should refer to Enforcement Guidance available online.

A licensee who practices while suffering with a contagious or infectious disease or knowingly serves any person afflicted with such a disease shall be guilty of a summary offense. 63 P.S. § 565.


Licensees may perform any service that is within the scope of their license.

  • Shampooing and conditioning of the hair on the head.
  • Cutting or trimming the hair on the head.
  • Styling of the hair on the head (e.g., shaping, blending, curling, waving, singeing, processing, straightening, weaving).
  • Shaping the eyebrows.
  • Chemical treatments of the hair on the head (e.g., permanent waving, bleaching, coloring).
  • Manicures provided by a licensed cosmetologist.
  • Services, including shaving and beard trimming, that require partial or temporary removal of the client's face covering are permitted subject to the following:
  • The shop or school must require a temperature check of the client prior to such services, and must refuse service if the client's temperature is above 100.4° F.
  • The employee performing such services must wear a face covering and goggles or a face covering and face shield during the performance of the services (in addition to the standard face covering requirement).
  • The client must wear a face covering at all times except when partial or temporary removal is necessary in order to receive such services.
  • The client may, at their option, wear a face covering for the duration of the service and/or require the employee to wear gloves during the performance of the service.


  • Out-of-shop services, except as set forth below.
  • Shoe shining or any other allied business.


  • The provision of barbering services within a client's residence is permitted. The licensee must follow the policies of the Long Term Care Facility if performing services on site at a facility; or with DOH/CDC guidelines, if performing services at a private residence.
  • The licensee is responsible for following the shop guidance as set forth herein.


  • Providing barbering services by appointment only, scheduled in advance, is highly encouraged.
  • The capacity of a barber shop or school must not exceed seventy-five percent (75%) of their capacity. This figure is based on clientele and staff combined.
  • Social distancing must be supported by separating stations at least 6 feet apart.
  • Social distancing should be supported by removing furniture in waiting areas.
  • Must place all notices in plastic covering.

All businesses, employees, educators and students in the barbering industry authorized to conduct in-person activities pursuant to this guidance must adhere to the following:


  • Employees and students must wear Pennsylvania Department of Health recommended face coverings or other face coverings that cover the nose and mouth for their entire shift and during all clinical work practiced upon the public.
  • When shampooing hair, employees and students must wear eye protection (goggles/glasses) which must be sanitized after each use.
  • Employees and students must wash hands before putting on or taking off protective eye gear.
  • Employees and students must remove protective eye gear after finishing the service and BEFORE doing anything else. Wash hands after removal.
  • Employees and students are advised to change into and out of clothing and shoes before and after their shift or clinical work practiced upon the public. Shoes should be left at the barber shop or school when possible.


  • High touch surfaces must be disinfected routinely in accordance with CDC guidelines. More frequent cleaning and disinfection may be required based on level of use.
  • Clean door handles frequently inside and outside of the barber shop or school (every 30 minutes).
  • Wipe down door windows frequently inside and outside (every 30 minutes).
  • Barber shops and schools must provide a hand sanitizer dispenser inside the front door.
  • Wipe down signage on walls once daily.


  • Remove all magazines and style books.
  • Remove all toys, games, remote controls, etc.
  • Remove beverage/coffee pots, self-service items and extraneous display cases that promote touching, including testers.
  • Utilize electronic sign-in sheets and appointment books when available.
  • Wipe down light switches at least once a day.
  • Require customers to wait outside of the barber shop until their appointment time.
  • Have covered garbage can to dispose of wipes, trash, etc.
  • Sanitize all items that have been picked up but not purchased.
  • Add signage or tape marking to designate where customers can stand based on the 6 feet apart designations.
  • Remove garbage daily.
  • Wash hands before folding towels or capes.


  • Clean daily. Wipe down door handles inside and out and all other commonly touched surfaces after each use.
  • Stock with soap and hand sanitizer.
  • Post a hand washing reminder.
  • Post a cleaning checklist in the bathroom so that customers know when it was last cleaned.


  • Prescreen appointments with a verbal inquiry. For example: Have you traveled outside of the state or country within the last 14 days? Have you experienced any COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, trouble breathing) in the past 14 days? Have you had any contact with anyone with a confirmed or suspected exposure to COVID-19 within the past 14 days?
  • When greeting the client upon arrival for the appointment, conduct a second verbal inquiry and a visual assessment of the client to ensure the client is healthy.
  • Employees and students must wash their hands or apply hand sanitizer in front of client.
  • No hand shaking.
  • No physical contact with clients outside of the contact required to perform the service.
  • Require client to put on a face covering if they didn't arrive in one. Client must wear the face covering at all times while in the barber shop, unless partial or temporary removal is permitted for receipt of a service as set forth above.


  • Wipe down the arms of the chair and the headrest before the client sits down.
  • Wipe down handles of hand mirror before handing to client.
  • Provide a new neck strip for each client.
  • Provide each client with a clean cape.
  • Store fresh capes in a closed container.
  • Remove tip jars from station (you may provide each client with a plastic bag to place their tip where electronic tip payment is not available).


  • Wipe handles of any tools before using on the client.
  • The client and the barber or student must wear a face mask during all interactions. Barbers and students are encouraged to wear eye protection when available, even when not required by this guidance.
  • Barbers and students should wear disposable gloves, to the extent the service can be performed properly while wearing gloves.
  • Sanitize all tools and equipment immediately after use and store in a closed container.
  • Store clean linens in a closed container.
  • Products may be kept at each station but must be sanitized at the beginning of the day and at the end of a shift.
  • Place used brushes and combs in a closed container marked "used."
  • Store one bottle of hand sanitizer at each station.


  • Remove cape and place in "used" container.
  • Remove neck strip and place in garbage.
  • Walk client to check out.
  • Utilize contactless payment whenever possible.
  • When contactless payment is not possible, wipe credit card terminal after use by customer with a sanitizing wipe.
  • Wash and sanitize hands after handling money.


  • Sanitize each station and chair.
  • Sanitize shampoo bowl and chair.
  • Sanitize all tools, equipment and implements used for the prior client.
  • Sweep the hair. Wipe down broom handle and dust pan.
  • Wash and sanitize hands.


Businesses that have questions about the following topics may email the following resource account:

Help is available for people who are struggling with their mental or emotional health or feeling anxious or overly stressed. Contact the Crisis Text Line by texting PA to 741-741.

The Administration recognizes the difficulty of procuring materials businesses need to safely resume operations. If assistance is needed to locate face coverings and other supplies to carry out these required safety procedures, please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development's Business-2-Business Interchange at:

The Barbers' License Law and Board's regulations can be found on the Board's website:

Schools should refer to the reopening guidance available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website:

The following websites offer the latest information on COVID-19 for individuals and businesses:

Governor Tom Wolf's website:

Pennsylvania Department of Health website:

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) COVID-19 website:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 website:

Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) list of approved disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19: