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Here's how Tattoo studios will operate from now on

Published Jun 22, 2020


CAPE TOWN - Advanced level 3 allows businesses such as salons and barbers to reopen along with many businesses in the personal care industry. Tattoo parlors have been given the green-light too, however, with a lot of restrictions and regulations to follow.

Tattoo parlors had been appealing to the government prior to the easing restrictions with representatives pointing out that tattoo parlors naturally practice safety and sanitary measures with tattoo artists trained in safe blood work too.

Advanced Level 3 restrictions now allows tattoo parlors to reopen but with strict regulations gazetted by the Minister for Small Business Development, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, last week.

Here are the standard operating procedures for formal tattooing studios:

Cleaning of premises and equipment

- Premises must be cleaned before and after use;

- Disinfect common areas before and after use including after serving each customer;

- Wet the work surface with disinfectant and apply plastic wrap and a dental bib;

- Sanitize or wash with soap and water each equipment or tool before and after each use;

- Fresh paper towels must be used for each customer;

- Keep windows/doors open, if possible, to ensure adequate ventilation;

- All ink bottles must be kept clean and in a separate area and not be touched unless wearing clean gloves;

- Spray bottles may not be used for tattoo cleaning, as this causes the liquid to become airborne; and

- Only squirt bottles are to be used to apply cleaning solutions onto paper towels and not directly onto the tattoo.

Personal Garment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

- Arrange adequate PPE for employees (including eye goggles and /or face shields and medical/ surgical face masks);

- Masks must be worn at all times in line with the Guidelines of the

- No customer will be served without wearing a medical/ surgical mask;

- Plastic aprons must be changed after serving each customer;

- Nitrile gloves (non -latex) are required for treatments, use of aseptic technique and should be changed after each client and not be shared under any conditions; and

- Plastic partitions should be placed between each work area and wiped down with disinfectant after attending each customer.


- Explain new procedures and schedules to all employees;

- Inform employees on the responsibility to advise the employer if they are tested positive or have been in contact with someone who is Covid-19 positive;

- Explain to each customer the applicable Covid-19 protocols before they are treated;

- Put up a notice for customers on Covid-19 protocols - where possible; and

- Medical waste must be stored in a separate area and all medical waste to be collected by a registered medical waste company on a regular basis - As per South African law.

Access and booking

- Employees and Owners above the age of 60 or with comorbidities must be discouraged from working;

- Any owner/ worker and customer who has flu-like / Covid-19 symptoms must not be allowed to work or to enter the salon;

- Use a booking system for treatment appointment;

- Maintain a register of customers and persons who enter the studio on each day for traceability;

- Indemnity forms must be filled in by every tattoo or piercing customer and an addendum must be added to the form to state that the customer is aware of, and accepts the dangers of having a close contact procedure done during Covid-19;

- The pen used for this form must be disinfected between each customer visit or the customer should use their own pen;

- No guests allowed; and

- Suspend the provision of all beverage and food amenities for customers.

Work area

- The work area must be cleaned and sanitized before and after each use;

- The work area must be arranged to be at least 1.5 meters apart or use cleanable partitions to separate work area;

- No face and neck treatments allowed;

- Where multiple tattoos and piercings are completed during operating hours, such work must be spaced out to allow sufficient time between customers for each tattooist and piercer to have the opportunity to adequately disinfect the work area;

- Only admit to the premises, customers who are to receive treatment; and Sharps (for needles, razors, etc.) containers must be provided for each work area.

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