New York COVID-19 Update

RE: Information regarding your state's back-to-practice permission date and safety guidelines to minimize risk of exposure to, and spread of, COVID-19 in the workplace. 

The reopening of businesses in New York State is happening on a regional basis, and our members' businesses fall into different phases of reopening. Additional information and guidelines about each phase are below, but here is a brief overview:

  • Phase One: No member-related businesses permitted to reopen. 
  • Phase Two: Hair salons and barbershops permitted to reopen. 
  • Phase Three: Massage therapists, estheticians, and nail professionals permitted to reopen.

New York in Phase Two:

Much of New York State is in Phase Two of Reopening New York. Hair salons and barbershops are Phase Two Industries and are permitted to reopen.

This guidance applies only to hair service businesses including hair salons, barbershops, and other similar hair service businesses. This guidance does not apply to nail salons, tattoo parlors, or any other non-haircutting-related personal care services or activities, including but not limited to: beard trimming, nose hair trimming, facials, manicures/pedicures, makeup application, threading, tweezing, or waxing. 

Per the link above, businesses must attest that they read the guidelines and print the Business Safety Plan template in order to reopen. Barbershops and hair salons in regions that remain in Phase One, such as New York City, are not allowed to reopen. 

Phase Three is Reopening Soon: 

Massage therapists, estheticians, and nail professionals are Phase Three industries per a June 9, 2020, announcement. The guidelines for "Personal Care Services" state:

This guidance applies to non-hair-related personal care businesses and services, including tattoo and piercing facilities, appearance enhancement practitioners, massage therapy, spas, cosmetology, nail specialty, UV and non-UV tanning, or waxing. This guidance does not apply to any hair-related personal care services (e.g. haircutting, coloring, or styling), which are addressed in "Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Hair Salons and Barbershops".

Personal care services that require the client to remove their mask are not allowed at this time. This includes, but is not limited to, facials, face massages, and lip and nose waxing.

Clients are allowed to remove their masks when prone in a massage setting so long as the massage therapist is wearing a face mask and a face shield and the client dons their face covering when they are supine. 

Be sure to read and follow these guidelines, as many of the guidelines are mandatory. Again, businesses must attest that they read the guidelines and print the Business Safety Plan template in order to reopen.

Certain regions may go to Phase Three the week of June 15, 2020, according to an email we received from the state on June 9, 2020. Phase Three is not open as of June 10, 2020.

New York Forward Business Reopening Lookup Tool 

The New York government created a reopening lookup tool for determining whether your business is eligible to reopen, and for viewing the public health and safety standards your business must comply with. While this tool was created prior to the June 9, 2020, announcement that most Personal Care Services can reopen in Phase Three, it still may be a helpful tool for our members in various regions of New York. Simply enter the county in which you live and your NAICS code. You can find your NAICS code here. There are discrepancies between NAICS code titles and the titles interpreted by New York. Here are the most likely NAICS codes and the New York interpretation for our members:

  • 621399 "Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners"
    This code applies to many health practitioners, but massage therapists are specifically prohibited from practicing in New York in Phase Two. They can return to practice in Phase Three.
  • 812199 "Other Personal Care Services"
    This is the other code for massage therapists. Practitioners should decide which code applies to them by determining whether they work in a medical setting or whether the services they provide fall under the personal care category.
  • 812112 "Hair Stylists and Estheticians" on the NAICS website and "Beauty Salons" on the business reopening site. In Phase Two, only hair services can be performed in New York. Estheticians may reopen in Phase Three, but facials will be prohibited.
  • 812113 "Nail Salons" can open in Phase Three.

Unemployment Benefits when Regions Reopen 

Our Government Relations department frequently receives questions regarding unemployment benefits, and whether an individual can still receive benefits if they choose not to return to work when their region opens. In general, you cannot receive unemployment benefits in New York if you voluntarily choose to leave your job. Having said that, a doctor's note about your situation may help. The New York Unemployment Insurance Benefits FAQ page provides the following information:

QUESTION: I am an older worker and/or am immuno-compromised. I work near a lot of people and am personally uncomfortable going to work due to concerns about my health. Am I eligible for Unemployment Insurance?

ANSWER: Generally speaking, you are not eligible for unemployment insurance if you voluntarily leave your job.

Before leaving work, please consider speaking with your employer for alternatives that may be available such as using sick time or annual leave, requesting a reasonable accommodation such as working remotely, asking your employer for a leave of absence, or seeking temporary disability benefits. If alternative options are not available, you may file a claim for unemployment insurance. You should consider obtaining medical documentation that identifies any work restrictions and submit that with your claim. If you are found ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits, you may be eligible for benefits under PUA.

Additional Safety Resources

ABMP, ASCP, AHP, and ANP understand there is a fine line between getting back to work and earning an income and protecting the safety of you and your clients. As you consider returning to work, we urge you to make government permission to work only one element of your decision about whether and when to reopen. Please review our comprehensive series of back-to-practice guidelines to help reduce risk and keep you and your clients safe.

We also have helpful forms and printouts available on our website, including office policies, screening questionnaires, and posters to remind clients about social distancing and handwashing.

We appreciate your membership and will continue working on your behalf to update you as we learn more. Please check our COVID-19 page for updates. Be safe and be well.

If you have questions or concerns, email us at