State releases new rules for salons, spas once they reopen

OLYMPIA, Wash. — You’ll be asked to put a towel over your face the next time you get your hair washed at the salon.

That’s just one change included in new health and safety guidelines released by Governor Jay Inslee’s office this week.

It’s an extensive list, but it’s the only way for stylists like Haley Hotchkiss to get back to work. Hotchkiss owns Kleur Style House in Spokane. She said she’ll do what it takes to safely get her clients back in her chair.

“Pretty much whatever we have to do to open, I’m willing to make that happen,” Hotchkiss said.

Personal service workers can go back to work under Phase 2 of the Safe Start plan in Washington.

Several Eastern Washington counties, including Stevens, Pend Oreille, Ferry and Lincoln Counties, have been granted variance under the plan. That means, personal services in those areas are now free to reopen if they follow specific guidelines.

Personal services include cosmetologists, hairstylists, barbers, estheticians, master estheticians, manicurists, nail salon workers, electrologists, permanent makeup artists, tattoo artists, cosmetology schools and esthetics schools.

Businesses that reopen are expected to maintain a minimum of six-foot separation between employee-service providers and clients at all times. When strict physical distancing is not feasible, other prevention measures will be required, such as use of barriers, enclosed areas and staggered breaks.

Businesses are also expected to provide personal protective equipment, such as gloves, goggles and face masks, to employees. All personal service businesses are also required to post signs at the entrance to the business strongly encouraging clients to use cloth face coverings in the shop.

Providers are expected to be screened for COVID-19 at the start of each shift, according to the guidelines.

To ensure customer safety, these businesses must arrange furniture to be six feet apart, put up face shields or sneeze guards and meet criteria for cleaning and sanitizing spaces. Hair stylists will need to place a cloth over their clients’ faces while washing their hair and clients are also asked not to bring anyone with them to an appointment, with an exception for children.

A full list of requirements can be found here.

The guidelines resemble those required of other businesses, like retail services and in-person dining, that are allowed to reopen in limited capacities. More info can be found below.

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