Managing Services with a Mask-free Client

We recently covered the importance of creating (and sticking to!) a COVID-19 Safety Plan based on WorkSafeBC’s “hierarchy of protection.”


We’re anticipating some questions, because, we get it: it seems contradictory to say continue personal services and the most effective form of protection is eliminating contact with other people. So, let’s address that.

Continuing with personal services does not mean ignoring the facts. Here’s a reminder of how we got here:

  1. Phase 1 of BC’s Restart Plan recognized that with cases on the rise, it was simply too risky to be in close contact with multiple people — and, as that’s the nature of our industry, we were shut down.
  2. As BC and much of Canada successfully “flattened the curve” and significantly reduced cases, the province deemed it safe enough to resume personal services — provided COVID-19 Safety Plans (remember, these are mandatory) are in place.
  3. Considering the hierarchy of protection, people receiving and performing personal services need to be aware of the risk involved.
  4. And finally, when contact can’t be avoided in a service, shorter is always better!

We asked Lisa Houle of WorkSafeBC about personal services, especially those which require face-to-face time with clients unable to wear a mask (i.e. facials, makeup applications). “People engaging in these services need to be aware that these are high-risk activities. You have gotten to a place where there aren’t many controls, “she says, “so, hopefully, these services are few and far between.”

With the knowledge that effective control isn’t entirely possible in close-proximity interactions, Lisa gave us some questions to ask ourselves:

  • How long does this service typically take, and how can it be shortened?
  • If the service is long, can it be broken into parts?
  • Can the service be done in a larger treatment room, or even outdoors? If not, is your ventilation sufficient?
    *Read WorkSafeBC’s update on proper ventilation here.
  • If the service requires extended face-to-face time, is there medical mask availability?
    *If supply is low, do not take masks that are needed by medical professionals. Instead, ask yourself how essential the service is.
  • If the service requires extended face-to-face time, should you implement temperature checks?
    *This is not a fool-proof strategy, but you should be looking at a multi-pronged approach when engaging in high-risk activities.
  • Have I been vigilant in minimizing contact with people outside of this service?
  • Have I been vigilant about mitigating risk within my business with my COVID Safety Plan?

Lisa is encouraged by the creativity, adaptability and resiliency of businesses right now: “Watching how people are adapting, changing the way they offer their services — that’s what is really needed right now. So, get creative! And then share your ideas with your network.”

*BeautyCouncil is suggesting professionals who provide services where a client cannot wear a mask protect themselves this way:

  • Wear and mask and visor
  • Limit talking/laughing to a minimum (play music instead)
  • Have your client keep a tissue in hand just in case they have a cough or sneeze
  • Be sure your space is well ventilated and not overly crowded with other staff or clients

Do you have specific ideas about shortening or adapting services to mitigate risk? We’d love to hear! Send them via email to, or tag or direct message us on Instagram.

We’re all in this together and need to support each other as a community to keep our industry going strong!