Covid-19 Safety guide - formal tattoo and piercing parlours

The Minister of Small Business Development, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, has given the green light for formal and informal businesses in the industry to open after being closed since the beginning of the national lockdown in March.

But it’s not as simple – things need to change to ensure everyone’s safety.

Now that personal care businesses can open their doors again, Ntshavheni has announced an elaborate list of rules and protocols that must be adhered to. 

The following protocols for COVID-19 operations apply in formal tattooing and piercing industries. 

Cleaning of premises and equipment

  • The work area must be cleaned before and after use.
  • Disinfect common areas before and after use including after serving each customer.
  • Clean the work surface with disinfectant and apply plastic wrap and a dental bib.
  • Sanitize equipment before and after each use.
  • Clean paper towels must be used for each customer.
  • Keep windows or 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 the artist is wearing clean gloves.
  • Spray bottles may not be used for tattoo cleaning, as this causes the liquid to become airborne. 
  • Only squirt bottles are to be used to apply cleaning solutions onto paper towels and not directly onto the tattoo.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Arrange adequate PPE for employees (including eye goggles or face shields and medical or surgical face masks).
  • No customer will be served if they are not wearing a mask.
  • Plastic aprons must be changed after serving each customer.
  • Nitrile gloves (non -latex) are p for treatments and should be changed after each client and not be shared under any circumstances
  • Plastic partitions should be placed between each work area and wiped down with disinfectant after attending each customer.


  • Explain new procedures and schedules for all employees.
  • Inform employees on their responsibility to advise the employer if they have 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.
  • 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, or customer who has flu-like or Covid-19 symptoms must not be allowed to work or to enter the parlour.
  • Use a booking system for appointments.
  • Maintain a register of people who enter the studio
  • Indemnity forms must be filled in by every 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 after each use or the customer should use their own pen.
  • No guests allowed. 
  • Suspend the provision of all beverage and food amenities for customers

Work area

  • Work areas must be cleaned and sanitized before and after each use.
  •  Work areas must be arranged to be at least 1.5 meters apart or use cleanable partitions to separate work areas.
  • Only customers who have bookings will be allowed to enter – no guests will be allowed.
  • Containers used for needles and other disposable equipment must be provided for each work area.


The abovementioned sector may contact the Department of Small Business (DSBD) on 0860 663 7867 for more information or alternatively send their queries to info for clarity