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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, such as a cough. 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 cosmetology 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 cosmetology industry, which includes cosmetology salons, nail technology salons, esthetics salons and natural hair braiding salons, 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.

Additionally, all business 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 registered apprentices, working in a business subject to this guidance.


It is the policy of the Administration to ensure that all businesses subject to this guidance conduct their operation in the manner best designed to prevent or mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of their employees and the communities in which their businesses reside or serve. All businesses, 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.


The State Board of Cosmetology’s regulations require salons to operate in an orderly and sanitary manner. All salon owners and employees are reminded that they must also follow all health and safety guidelines provided in the Cosmetology Law and Board’s regulations.


Failure to strictly adhere to the requirements of this guidance, the Cosmetology 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 conduct random inspections of salons.

Law enforcement officers should refer to Enforcement Guidance available online


  • Shampooing and conditioning of the hair on the head.
  • Cutting of the hair on the head.
  • Styling of the hair on the head (e.g. arranging, braiding, dressing, curling, waving, singing, pressing, twisting, wrapping, weaving, extending, locking).  
  • Chemical treatments of the hair on the head (e.g. permanent waving, bleaching, coloring). 
  • Removal of superfluous hair only when such removal can be accomplished with a mask on both the salon employee and client.
  • Manicures.
  • Pedicures.
  • Massage therapy services.


  • Services which would require the removal of the client's face mask (e.g. facials; removing hair from lip or chin area)
  • The rendering of cosmetology or limited license services outside of the salon.


  • The capacity of a salon shall not exceed fifty percent (50%) of their capacity. This figure is based on clientele and staff combined.
  • Social distancing should be supported by separating stations, shampoo bowls and pedicure and manicure stations.  
  • Social distancing should be supported by removing furniture in waiting areas.
  • Place all notices in plastic covering.

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


  • Employee must wear CDC recommended face masks or other face masks that cover the nose and mouth in a snug manner for their entire shift.
  • When shampooing hair, employee must wear eye protection (goggles/glasses) which must be sanitized after each use.
  • Employees should change into and out of clothing and shoes before and after their shift. Shoes should be left at salon.
  • Employee must wash hands before putting on or taking off protective eye gear.
  • Employee must remove protective eye gear after finishing the service and BEFORE doing anything else. Wash hands after removal.


  • Clean door handles frequently inside and outside of the salon (every 30 minutes).
  • Wipe down door windows frequently inside and outside (every 30 minutes).
  • Salons must provide a hand sanitizer dispenser inside 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 daily.
  • Require customers to wait outside of the salon until their appointment time.
  • Have covered garbage can to dispose of wipes, 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 commonly touched surfaces after each use.
  • Stock with soap and hand sanitizer.
  • Add hand washing reminder.
  • Add 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, conduct a second verbal inquiry and a visual assessment of the client to ensure the client is healthy.
  • A licensee shall refuse to serve a client whom the licensee believes has an infectious, contagious or communicable disease, unless the client can produce a physician's certification that the client does not have an infectious, contagious or communicable disease. 49 Pa. Code § 7.97.
  • Employee 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 mask if they didn't arrive in one.


  • 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 employee must wear a face mask during all interactions.  Employees are encouraged to wear eye protection when available.
  • Disposable gloves are recommended to be worn by the employee, 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 end of a shift.
  • Place used brushes and combs in a closed container marked "used".
  • Store one bottle of hand sanitizer at each station.
  • Manicure tables must have a partition between the employee and the client that allows for the minimum amount of open space necessary to accomplish the service.


  • 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.


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 masks and other supplies to carry out these required safety procedures, please visit DCED's Business2Business Interchange at:  

The Cosmetology Law and Board's regulations can be found on the Board's 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: