What’s Open and What’s Closed Among Hong Kong’s Beauty Services

Writer Tama Lung | April 9, 2020

Update (August 4, 2020): Due to a continued increase in local infections, closure of bathhouses, fitness centres, beauty parlours and massage establishments—along with stricter social-distancing measures including mandatory mask-wearing in public places—will remain in effect until at least August 11.

Update (July 14, 2020): Citing a “drastic change” in the Covid-19 situation in Hong Kong, including an emergence of local cases of unknown infection source and the subsequent risk of a large-scale outbreak, the government outlined tighter social distancing measures to take effect on July 15. This includes the closure of bathhouses, fitness centres, beauty parlours and massage establishments (as mandated earlier and explained below). The suspension of operations is effective for a period of at least seven days, or until July 21. 

Update (May 9, 2020): Beauty parlours and massage establishments reopened on May 8, following an extension of the closure from April 21 to May 7. 

After the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases jumped by more than 500 over a two-week period, the Hong Kong government on April 8 announced additional measures to reduce transmission. This included extending the closure of bathhouses, fitness centres and entertainment venues until April 23. And, one week after imposing additional hygiene measures, the government also ordered the closure of “beauty parlours” and “massage establishments” effective from 12am on April 10 until April 23. 

But what exactly does this mean? Can we still get our hair and nails done? What about going to physio? We’re as curious as you are, so we read through all the fine print and have broken it down for you below. Of course, every business is different so be sure to call ahead before visiting. And be aware that those remaining open will be enforcing temperature and travel checks as well as other precautionary measures. 

Beauty Parlours
As defined by Hong Kong legislation Cap. 599F, beauty parlours are any premises that provide one or more of the following services:

  • a. chemical, mechanical or energetic procedure for beautifying purpose, including cosmetic procedures that involve skin puncture for non-medical purpose, on any part of the body (excluding hair on the head)

b. nail treatment services (including manicure or pedicure service, nail extension, nail polish and nail art)

c. hair loss improvement service (including hair transplant and hair weaving) for non-medical purpose

In other words, manicures and pedicures are out. So are facials, slimming and other aesthetic treatments that involve skin-to-skin contact and needles or machines penetrating the skin, such as Botox, fillers and semi-permanent make-up. The good news? You don’t have to resort to a DIY haircut and colour, at least for now.

Massage Establishments
According to Cap. 266, a massage establishment is “any place used or intended to be used or represented as being used for the reception or treatment of persons requiring massage or other similar service or treatment”. Seems fairly straightforward, but the Secretary for Food and Health has exempted certain premises from the ordinance, including hospitals, maternity homes and:

  • a. an establishment for medical treatment [operated by a registered medical practitioner]

b. an establishment for physiotherapy [operated by a registered physiotherapist] 

c. the premises for practising Chinese medicine [operated by a registered Chinese medicine practitioner or listed Chinese medicine practitioner]

d. the premises for chiropractic [operated by a registered chiropractor]

So go ahead and book your physio and chiropractic appointments, but you’ll have to hold off on your favourite foot or Thai massage for the next two weeks. 

For now, that’s the latest as we know it. Feel free to contact us at talktoasiaspa@two2.press with questions or, if you’re a spa or salon owner, updates on how you’re weathering these trying times.