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Mandatory Directive for Personal Care Services Businesses

*Please confirm that your facility may open under the State Order.  Where there is a difference between the local County Order and the State Order, the more restrictive order must be followed.  The State also has specific guidance for certain facilities that must be followed in addition to this mandatory directive.*
Issued: July 14, 2020
Updated: July 30, 2020
Information on the State’s Order and State guidance is available at​.

On July 13, 2020, the State Health Officer ordered the closure of all indoor operations at personal care services businesses, hair salons, and barbershops in Santa Clara County (effective July 15, 2020). See the Statewide Public Health Officer Order here. Accordingly, these businesses may not operate indoors.

All outdoor operations are subject to the mandatory requirements in this Directive and any applicable safety- and health-related regulatory requirements.

July 30, 2020 Update. For additional rules on providing personal services outdoors, please see the following COVID-19 Industry Guidance documents from the State: 

Expanded Personal Care Services Provided Outdoors 

Hair Salon and Barbershop Services Provided Outdoors​ 

Note that some services may not be provided even if operations move outdoors.  See page 2 of the State’s Expanded Personal Care Services Provided Outdoors document and Section 10 of this Directive for specific examples of services that may not occur even outdoors. 

A wide range of businesses provide “personal care services,” which means personal care that involves close, often physical contact between service providers and clients.  “Personal care services” includes hair styling and hair care, including at hair salons and barbershops; nail care, including at nail salons; services provided at body art, tattoo, and piercing shops; esthetician, skin care, and cosmetology services; electrology, waxing, threading, and other hair removal services; makeup application and other services, including services provided at makeup salons; massage therapy and other massage services (outside healthcare settings); services at tanning salons; other businesses providing similar face or body care services; tailoring services; and any educational or training setting at which these services are taught through practice or experience.

While these personal care services businesses provide important services that help people maintain their appearance and well-being, they can also pose significant risks to public health in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Because personal care services involve prolonged close contact, and often physical contact, between service providers and clients, personal care services businesses must take extra precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for clients and staff.

This Directive explains how personal care services businesses may operate. This Directive is mandatory, and failure to follow it is a violation of the Health Officer’s Order issued July 2, 2020 (“Order”).  You must comply with the Order and all requirements of this Directive. 

Personal care services businesses must also continue to comply with existing safety- and health-related regulatory requirements, including those issued by the County of Santa Clara, cities within the County, Cal/OSHA, and the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.

The Order Issued July 2

The Order imposes several restrictions on all businesses and activities to ensure that the County stays as safe as possible, including but not limited to the following:

  • The Social Distancing Protocol: All businesses must fill out and submit the newest version of the Social Distancing Protocol to the County using the online form, available here. The Protocol is submitted under penalty of perjury, meaning that everything written on the form must be truthful and accurate to the best of the signer’s knowledge, and submitting false information is a crime.  The Protocol must be distributed to all workers, and it must be accessible to all officials who are enforcing the Order.  Businesses are responsible for ensuring that workers understand and are trained on Protocol requirements in a language that they understand. 
  • Signage: All businesses must print (1) an updated COVID-19 PREPARED Sign and (2) a Social Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet, and both must be posted prominently at all facility entrances. These are available for printing after submission of the Social Distancing Protocol online.
  • Face Coverings: Everyone at a business facility or worksite must wear a face covering at all times (except very young children, people for whom face coverings are medically inadvisable, or for communication by or with people who are hearing impaired). Face coverings must be worn even during personal care services, without exception.
  • Density Limitation: All businesses must limit the number of people who may be at the facility at the same time.  For staff members, the limit is 1 person per 250 gross square feet of indoor facility space (this means total space, including areas open only to staff like storage rooms).  For clients, the limit is 1 person per 150 square feet of indoor space open to the public.  The density requirements tell businesses how many people (staff or clients) they can let into their facility before another person leaves.  Children under 12 who are accompanying a parent or guardian do not count against the limit, but everyone age 12 and over does.

See the Order and the FAQ page for more details.

In addition to these general requirements applicable to all businesses under the Order, all personal care services businesses must comply with the following directives.

Reservation, Check-In, and Recordkeeping Procedures

Personal care services business must take the following steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission:

  1. Provide service by appointment only, and refuse service to walk-in clients.
    1. Before a client’s appointment, contact the client to:
      1. tell them they cannot receive service if, in the two weeks prior to the appointment, they have exhibited any symptoms of COVID-19 or tested positive for COVID-19, or if they have been in close contact with anyone who has exhibited such symptoms or who tested positive for COVID-19;
      2. tell them not to bring other people (other than a parent or guardian for a minor client or a caretaker for a disabled client) or nonessential personal items to the appointment; and
      3. tell them not to arrive at the facility more than 5 minutes before their appointment.
    2. Space out appointment slots so that there is enough time between appointments to conduct the cleaning and sanitation that is required by the Order and this Directive.
  1. Lobbies, Check-in Procedures, Payment Systems
    1. Require clients to wait outside or in their cars until their appointment begins.
    2. If possible, use a touch-free check-in system, such as an online or app-based platform.
    3. If possible, use contactless payment systems for all sales transactions. If contactless payments systems are not available, sanitize all items used (pens, clipboards, card readers, etc.) after each transaction.
    4. Prohibit entry of visitors other than clients, other than a parent or guardian for a minor client or a caretaker for a disabled client
  2. Verbal Screening of all Guests at Each Entry
    1. In addition to the personnel screening required by the Social Distancing Protocol, verbally screen all clients and other visitors as they enter the facility by asking if they:
      1. have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
      2. came into close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
      3. feel or recently felt feverish;
      4. have or recently had any other COVID-19 symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, chills, headaches, muscle/body aches, confusion, or loss of taste/smell.
    2. If a person answers “yes” to any of these questions, the business must not allow the person to enter the facility, and must instead urge the person to return home and to contact their healthcare provider.
  1. Recordkeeping to Facilitate Contact-Tracing Efforts

    To facilitate the County’s contact-tracing efforts should they become necessary, the business must create and retain for a minimum of 60 days after the appointment records of the following information regarding the client’s visit.  This information is confidential, and will only be subject to disclosure to the County Public Health Department for case investigation and contact tracing purposes, to protect the health of workers and clients:
    1. The client’s name, phone number, and email address.
    2. The date, time, and duration of the client’s visit.
    3. The name and contact information for any worker who provided services to the client.

Measures to Enforce Social Distancing and Provide Protective Equipment

Personal care services businesses must ensure that each person in their facility maintains at least 6 feet of social distancing from everyone from a different household at all times, except for the workers providing personal care services to a client.  To help accomplish this distancing, personal care services businesses must:

  1. Client Amenities
    1. Close waiting rooms, reception areas, common seating areas, coatrooms, and lounges.
    2. Remove amenities such as coat racks, magazines, books, coffee, water, self-serve stations, and other items for customers.
    3. Remove throw pillows, removable seat cushions, stuffed animals, and other items with surfaces that are difficult or impossible to clean thoroughly.
  2. Workstations
    1. Reduce, arrange, or block off (using tape, rope, or printed signs) the chairs, workstations, or other service areas available for use so that no person works, sits, stands, or otherwise is within 6 feet of any other person, except for the worker providing personal care services to a client.
      1. For example, this may require that a barbershop or makeup salon use only every other chair, or every third chair, and remove or block off the others.
      2. Wherever possible, hair salons and barbershops should forego hair-washing and shampoos or encourage clients to arrive with washed hair. If performing hair-washing, salons and barbershops must ensure at least 6 feet, and preferably more, of distance between each hair-washing station in use.
    2. Close the following amenities: showers; locker rooms; water fountains; vending machines; shared food and beverage equipment in break rooms and in areas accessible to clients, including microwaves, coffee machines, and water coolers.
    3. Post signage reminding clients to stay at least 6 feet away from everyone outside their household, other than the worker providing the client with personal care services.
  3. Personal Protective Equipment
    1. Personal care services businesses must ensure that workers and clients all have and are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, as required by the Order, this Directive, and any generally applicable laws and regulations, including those issued by Cal-OSHA. All personal care services businesses must ensure all employees are wearing the following PPE when providing services that require them to be within 6 feet of a client:
      1. Obtain, provide at no cost to workers, and require that all workers use the following personal protective equipment:
      2. Surgical mask that fully covers the nose and mouth (N95 masks are highly recommended for all personal care service workers, particularly those who will be within 3 feet of a client for more than 15 minutes);
      3. Eye protection (glasses, goggles, and/or a face shield), in addition to a surgical mask that covers the nose and mouth;
      4. Disposable or washable smock or cape that is disposed of or laundered between clients; and
      5. Disposable gloves when performing services for which gloves are appropriate, such as chemical hair services and body art. If a worker is wearing gloves while performing a service, gloves must be changed between clients.
    2. Require that everyone, including clients and visitors, wear face coverings at all times while in the facility, including while receiving personal care services.

Sanitization Measures

Personal care services businesses must implement the following sanitization measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission inside the facility.  Disinfectants used to comply with this section must be effective against COVID-19.  A list of effective disinfectants is available here.

  1. Workers and Clients Must Wash Hands Before and After Service
    1. Require workers and clients to wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds immediately before and immediately after service.
    2. Require workers to wash with soap and water all other parts of the body used to provide personal care services (for example, forearms and elbows for individuals who provide massages).
    3. Prohibit use of cell phones by workers while a client receives services.
  2. Disinfect Areas, Surfaces, Furniture, and Equipment; Use Clean Items For Each Client
    1. Regularly disinfect all high-touch areas and surfaces (such as doorknobs, handles, rails, light switches, restrooms, sinks, toilets, front desk area, keyboards, computers, and phones), following CDC guidelines.
    2. Disinfect all furniture and equipment used to provide personal care services before and after each client receives services. For furniture and equipment that cannot reasonably be cleaned and disinfected, use disposable liner and dispose after each use.
      1. For example, a hair salon must disinfect all items used or touched by the client or workers providing services, including chairs, armrests, headrests, shampoo bowls, station counters, hand mirrors, hair care and other products, and tools (including shears, combs, brushes, clippers and clipper guards, hair dryers, equipment handles, hoses, spray nozzles and other equipment).
    3. After each use, change out all items that can be cleaned, and replace all items that can be discarded, except for the worker’s eye protection.
      1. For example, hair salons must require that both workers and clients use new or freshly laundered smocks or capes for each client, because the smocks and capes can be laundered after each use, but workers need not replace their eye protection (glasses, goggles, or face shields) between clients. Similarly, massage businesses must require that workers use new or freshly laundered sheets for each client, but that they need not replace their eye protection before each client. 
    4. If necessary, modify operating hours to ensure that regular and thorough sanitization can be accomplished.
    5. Make hand sanitizer available to clients throughout the facility. Post signage requiring clients to use hand sanitizer or wash their hands (with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds) before and after their appointment begins.

Other Requirements

  1. Services On or Near the Face or Neck Prohibited.

    No personal care services business may offer or perform any service that requires or would likely lead the client to remove or adjust a face covering.  For example, the following services are prohibited because they involve services to or near the face or neck: eyelash services; eyebrow waxing and threading, as well as other facial hair removal or treatment; facials and facial massages; and facial tattoos, facial tattoo removal, facial piercing, beard trimming, facial shaving, application or removal of makeup, and other personal care services on or near the face or neck.  Haircuts and hair styling are allowed so long as they do not require the removal of face coverings.  Ear piercings that do not require the removal of a face covering may be performed, but only by a licensed body art practitioner.
  1. Requirement to Install Physical Barriers Where Feasible.

    Personal care services businesses must install physical barriers (for example, a plastic or plexiglass partition) wherever feasible between the client and the worker performing personal care services for that client and between clients and workers at reception areas.  For instance, businesses that provide nail-care services must install barriers between clients and manicurists.
  1. Requirement to Allow for Outdoor Air Exchange

    Where possible and safe, open outdoor windows and doors to expand ventilation and allow for outdoor air exchange.
  1. Maximize Outdoor Provision of Services

    Wherever possible, move all customers transactions, consultations, and services outdoors.
  1. Dual Services Prohibited.

    Because it requires unnecessary close personal contact by more than one worker at a time, no personal care services business may offer or perform “dual services.”  Dual services refers to a circumstance where two workers are simultaneously performing services on a single client when the services could be performed separately.  A common form of dual service is a combination manicure-pedicure at a nail salon, where one person performs a client’s manicure at the same time as another person performs the same client’s pedicure.
  1. “Double Booking” Requires Additional Cleaning and Social Distancing Measures.

    “Double booking”  refers to a circumstance where one worker is simultaneously performing services on two clients when the services could be performed one after the other.  A common form of double booking is when a single hair stylist provides hair coloring services to one client and then performs a haircut on a second client while the first client is waiting for the color to set.  Double booking can lead to unnecessary close personal contact between a worker and more than one client at a time.  Personal care services business may not double book clients except where (i) the two clients can maintain social distance from one another and from everyone else (other than the worker), (ii) each time the worker stops attending to one client and begins attending to the other, the worker washes their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and uses new gloves, if used. 
  1. Test or Sample Products Prohibited.

    Because it unnecessarily risks transmission, personal care services businesses cannot offer or leave out any test or sample of a product for clients to handle or try, unless it is individually packaged for takeaway by the client.  For example, an esthetician may not offer or leave accessible a bottle of skin moisturizer for clients to test, but could provide single-use packets of skin moisturizer.
  1. Application to Nail Salons and Other Businesses that Provide Nail-Care Services.

    Businesses that provide nail-care services must not permit clients to touch items in nail polish display area, and must not permit clients to test or otherwise handle nail polish.  They may, but are not required, to use nail palettes instead of nail polish displays.  If they do, the nail palettes should be sanitized after each client handles it.
  1. Tenants and Lessees
    Personal service businesses must not allow a person who leases or rents space from the business (whether a chair, a booth, or otherwise) to perform any service at or in its facility unless (1) the business undertakes the obligations described in the Order, the Social Distancing Protocol, and this Directive toward that person as though that person were personnel, and (2) that person first signs a statement in the form below.  The business must retain the signed statement for its records and for production to County officials upon request, and must provide a copy of the statement to the person signing it.

Other Steps Recommended by the Health Officer

The following steps are not required, but they are strongly recommended by the Health Officer:

  1. Offering designated hours for clients aged 50 and older.
  2. Avoiding cash transactions and requiring exact change when cash is unavoidable.
  3. Receiving clients and payment outdoors in front of the facility.
  4. Leverage technology to conduct consultations remotely rather than in person.
  5. Upgrading the facility’s HVAC system to improve airflow and filtration.
  6. Becoming a Santa Clara County Certified Healthy Nail Salon. See

Stay Informed

For answers to frequently asked questions about this industry and other topics, please see the FAQ page.  Please note that this Directive may be updated.  For up-to-date information on the Health Officer Order, visit the County Public Health Department’s website at​​​​​​​​​​​

Last updated: 7/30/2020 4:29 PM