Summary of Back to Practice for Hair Professionals

Utilizing COVID-19 best practice recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), guidance from other infection control experts, findings from the limited and preliminary research on the virus, and the most accurate updates we could gather from the quickly-evolving science, we’ve compiled this document of practice protocols that seem most appropriate for cosmetologists who are choosing to move forward with reopening their businesses. This document does not represent a recommendation from AHP for reopening your practice, but rather gives our best guidance for when that time comes.

Still No Guarantee

Cosmetologists should remain mindful of the continuing risk of COVID-19 transmission. When you choose to resume services, revised protocols should be put into place for the health, safety, and comfort of your clients and your staff.

In lieu of a cure, vaccine, antibody tests, or other intervention for COVID-19, there is no way you can venture back into practice without some heftily revised protocols to protect you and your clients, and yet, like with most other pathological encounters, there is still no guarantee that you or your clients will come away from your interactions unscathed.

Important Reopening Considerations

  • Always abide by the guidelines and recommendations of your state and/or local governments, as well as the rules and regulations of your regulatory agency in regard to reopening your practice. This plan may go above and beyond your state. If you are working as a contractor, consult with your salon to understand the precautions that they are taking on behalf of you and your clients.
  • Your liability insurance is valid as long as you are in compliance with your state and local regulations. Because many states are opening in phases and or opening regions or counties individually, we encourage you to view your state's website and contact your local authorities for specific regulations and official information in your area.
  • AHP believes a requirement in any reopening plan is the heightened use of personal protective equipment (PPE), specifically face masks, which is something new to many cosmetologists and their clients. Understand, however, that PPE is scarce and any available supplies are being redirected, rightly so, to frontline workers and health assistance staff (nursing homes, home health aides, etc.) who are still operating without the proper supply of equipment they need to work safely. AHP believes it’s professionally unethical to divert supplies from this delicate supply chain for non-emergency equipment requests at this time. Consider other options for face coverings for you and your clients in the interim. Please review our overview of PPE options.

What Your New Business Might Look Like When You Reopen

  • Use this time to update your business practices including changes to your cancellation policy, waiting room layouts, scheduling/booking protocols, and language changes for your website and materials.
  • Consider the number of clients you will be able to accommodate and if your hours of operation should change. With new working protocols and greater infection control standards, appointments should be staggered, and time allotted for increased sanitation and disinfection. Avoid double booking clients during chemical processing.
  • Consider purchasing a metal rolling cart that can be used in place of your station and easily disinfected after each client.
  • Consider scheduling appointments first to those clients who have had standing appointments and/or were canceled due to the COVID-19 shut down. Utilize every other station and every other shampoo bowl so as to maintain 6–10 feet social distance between you and your client, and the other cosmetologists and their clients. Once a shampoo bowl has been used, place a marker on the bowl to indicate it needs to be sanitized so that the next person knows not to use it.
  • If you are choosing to remain closed for the time-being, here is some sample language to communicate with clients:
    Our goal is to be a stress-free and fun home away from home for you and our team. The well-being of our clients and our team is our number one priority and for this reason, we are taking extra precautions and have chosen to stay closed at this time. We look forward to welcoming you back in the coming days.

For more ideas and specific protocols, choose one of the seven other sections in the menu above.

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