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Guidelines for personal services business

From noon on 15 May 2020, many services offered by beauty therapy and massage businesses (a personal services business) in the Northern Territory will be able to resume and reopen, provided the operator has submitted a COVID-19 safety plan and put measures in place.

However, the Chief Health Officer (the CHO) has placed further requirements and restrictions on the reopening of personal services businesses.

These restrictions and requirements are specified in CHO Directions No 30 – Directions to Close Certain Business, Places, Activities and Services and Directions for Safety Measures at Reopened Businesses, Places, Activities and Services (the Directions).

This information does not related to hairdressers. Hairdressers continued to operate.  All hairdressers should complete a COVID-19 Safety Plan, as part of stage 3, by 5 June.

CHO Directions and mandatory requirements

In the ordinary course of business, a personal services business must comply with the Public and Environmental Health Regulations 2014.

The personal services business must now also comply with the requirements specified in the Directions.

Under the Directions, a personal services business must:

  • complete and submit to the Department of Health a COVID-19 safety plan checklist before reopening and
  • place markings on the floor of its premises where customers may queue (for example, at the entrance, bathrooms or service counter) before reopening and
  • provide hand sanitiser to customers unless handwashing facilities are available.

The CHO’s directions are laws and it is an offence to contravene a direction of the CHO.

It is important that you keep informed about the Directions of the Chief Health Officer and any restrictions which relate to the types of treatments that you may deliver.

In addition to the mandatory requirements under the Directions, the following information may be helpful to assist personal services businesses in reopening.

A personal services business should also follow the Public and Environmental Health Guidelines for Hairdressing, Beauty Therapy and Body Art.

How coronavirus (COVID-19) is spread

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spread from person-to-person through close contact and droplets including:

  • direct contact with infected people
  • contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
  • touching contaminated objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables), and then touching your mouth or face.

The best way to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and protect your business is through maintaining good hygiene practices and following physical distancing principles.

Things you should do

Before reopening, you should review all aspects of the personal services business that may increase the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission.

This will allow your business to apply practical measures to reduce risk of infection between staff or to the general public.

Two hour time limit

A personal services business should limit the time a customer remains at the business to 2 hours per visit.

This is intended to assist with contact tracing in the event of an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Hygiene practices

The manager of a personal services business should provide training to staff on hygiene practices and any procedural changes that have been implemented to avoid spread of the virus.

Staff members should:

  • wash your hands frequently after going to the bathroom, after handling money, before and after eating and after touching your face or hair
  • avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose
  • use a hand sanitiser before and after providing a treatment, or wash hands with soap and water
  • avoid touching areas that have been in direct contact with a customer
  • any staff member with a suspected communicable disease (such as coughing, sneezing, flu-like symptoms) should be excluded from the workplace.

Staff information

Staff members should not attend work if they are unwell. Managers should advise staff members to go home if the staff member is unwell.

A personal services business should not provide treatments to customers with a suspected communicable disease (such as coughing, sneezing, flu-like symptoms).

Wearing gloves

Washing hands regularly or using hand sanitiser will offer more protection against coronavirus (COVID-19) than wearing gloves.

If you are feeling well, there is currently no need to wear gloves, other than as part of the business’s normal infection control procedures (such as when exposure to blood or other body fluids is likely).

It is important to change gloves regularly between activities and wash hands thoroughly between glove changing to prevent contamination from used gloves onto the fresh gloves.

Wearing masks

If you are feeling well, there is currently no need to wear a protective mask.

People should practise good hygiene and physical distancing in their workplace.

Physical distancing

A personal services business should:

  • Ensure customers are 1.5 metres apart in a waiting room.
  • For an open plan salon – ensure customers are 1.5 metres apart while undertaking services at the business.
  • Arrange placement of customers so that customers are not seated face to face.
  • Manage the entry and exit points of the business so that customers are not queuing at these points.
  • Display, at the entrance to the business, the number of customers that may be inside the business in order to maintain physical distancing.
  • Place signage around the business to remind staff and customers to maintain hygiene practices and to go home if the staff member or customer is feeling unwell.
  • Place signage around the business to discourage customers crowding together in any one area of the business.
  • Encourage customers to remain 1.5 metres apart when moving through the business.

Cleaning and disinfecting

During the pandemic, extra cleaning should be carried out throughout the personal services business.

You should keep your place of business clean and sanitised by taking the following measures:

  • Maintain thorough cleaning and disinfection of facilities and equipment.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces touched by clients immediately after the treatment has been provided.
  • Clean shared surfaces more frequently, at least twice a day. This could include door handles (front door, cupboard handles), bathrooms, service counters, handrails and EFTPOS keypads.
  • If you think a surface may be contaminated, clean it with a common household disinfectant to kill the virus.
  • Increase cleaning regimes for all other areas within the business. Consider whether aspects of the Australian Government cleaning advice will add anything to your cleaning and disinfecting procedures.

Cleaning products

Use a disinfectant which the manufacturer claims can kill viruses.

Chlorine-based (bleach) disinfectants are one product which is suitable.

Read the label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution and usage.

Bleach solutions should be made fresh daily as they become less effective over time.

The recommended concentration of available chlorine for routine disinfection of cleaned surfaces is 1000ppm as this concentration has been shown to be effective against the majority of microbial pathogens.

Physical barriers

In certain situations, a physical barrier such as widening the counter can be used to help maintain physical distance between people.

Opaque or clear screen dividers of a suitable material that can be easily cleaned and disinfected can be used to create separation between people.

These barriers should be appropriately designed and installed and be a size that creates protection for the person, especially around the face area.

Rubbish disposal

The risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) when handling waste is low. Normal collection of waste for households, retail and other businesses continues.

When managing waste, the following good hygiene practices should be followed:

  • Disposable gloves, masks, and other items should be placed in a rubbish bag before disposing of them with other domestic waste.
  • Hands should be washed with soap and running water or rubbed with hand sanitiser immediately after handling these items.

Payments

Promote cashless payments. However, if cash is exchanged, hands should be washed with soap and water, or use a hand sanitiser after handling money.

Communication

It is important to communicate your coronavirus (COVID-19) safety steps with customers.

Provide updates on social media or via emails and provide signage and information at venues.

Encourage all your staff, volunteers and customers to follow these guidelines in their daily life to keep our community safe.

More information

Contact Environmental Health COVID-19 Compliance on 1800 095 646

Get information for workplaces and coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Safe Work Australia website.