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June 17, 2020

Someone In Your Salon Has COVID-19: Now What?

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Photo by Marcus Spiske for Unsplash.

What To Do If Someone In Your Salon Has COVID-19

So you reopened your salon, things were going well, and business is resuming…until one of the hairdressers who works in the salon tests positive for COVID-19. Or maybe someone on your team is coughing and doesn’t feel well, and you aren’t sure if it’s COVID-19. What do you do? We studied government guidance to help you figure out how to handle a few different COVID-19 scenarios in your salon—keep reading for info!


Editor’s Note: The below recommendations come directly from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), unless noted otherwise. State and local health departments may have additional guidance or regulations for each scenario. Please check your state and local guidelines to ensure you are adhering to protocols for your specific area.


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Scenario: An employee is beginning to show symptoms of COVID-19, but hasn’t been tested.

If someone in your salon arrives with symptoms or becomes sick during the day, immediately separate that hairdresser and send them home. According to the CDC, sick employees should not return to work until they have met CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation and have consulted with their healthcare provider and state or local health department.


“Employers should not require sick employees to provide a COVID-19 test result or healthcare provider’s note to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or return to work,” the CDC says. “Healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner.”


Scenario: An employee has tested positive for COVID-19.

With a confirmed case of COVID-19, here’s what you should do:


Keeping Immediate Contacts Informed

You should determine which other people may have been exposed to the virus. These are people who have had close contact (nearer than 6 feet) for more than 15 minutes.


Do you need to inform employees and clients? The guidelines vary state-by-state—at a minimum, you should immediately inform your local public health department and potentially assist public health authorities in contact tracing and informing close contacts of possible exposure. Your local health authorities will have specific guidance, so please check with local resources. For example, Texas requires salons to notify employees and clients within 24 hours of receiving information of a positive test result. Other states may have public health authorities send this notification. Remember that all communication should maintain the sick employee’s privacy—do not name the sick employee’s name unless that employee has given you permission to do so.


People who have had close contact should stay home until 14 days after last exposure, maintain social distancing from others at all times and self-monitor for symptoms by checking their temperature twice a day and watching for fever, cough or shortness of breath.


Depending on when the sick person was last in your salon, these protocols may change—again, it’s very important to notify your local health authorities and to follow their instructions.



Cleaning and Disinfecting

“In most cases, you do not need to shut down your facility,” the CDC says on its business guidelines page. “But do close off any areas used for prolonged periods of time by the sick person.”


The CDC recommends waiting 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting to minimize potential for other employees being exposed to respiratory droplets—or, if you can’t wait 24 hours, wait as long as possible. During this waiting period, open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation. Follow CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations—you can download a checklist for salons by clicking here and visiting BTC’s Coronavirus Downloadables page.


Scenario: A client called and said they tested positive for COVID-19.

Guidelines on how to handle this scenario are difficult to find, and also may depend on when the client was last in your salon. If this happens, call your local public health department for guidance on how to proceed.


Scenario: A person on your team had COVID-19, but now wants to come back to work.

Sick employees who have stayed home can return to work when they’ve met criteria from the CDC:


  • If the employee’s doctor and local public health authorities say the employee does not need a test to determine if the employee is still contagious, the employee may return to work when all three of these conditions have been met:
    • The employee has had no fever for at least 72 hours (without the use of medicine that reduces fever).
    • Cough and shortness of breath have improved.
    • At least 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared.


  • If an employee’s doctor and local public health authorities determine the employee should be tested to determine if the employee is still contagious, the employee may return to work when all three of these conditions have been met:
    • The employee no longer has a fever.
    • Cough and shortness of breath have improved.
    • The employee receives two negative tests in a row, at least 24 hours apart.



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