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Last updated: 8 January 2021

Flash Update 5th January 2021

This Flash Update contains the latest changes to government rules and guidelines since the Hair and Beauty Bulletin was last published as a PDF in September 2020. It also reflects the government’s altered emphasis on some aspects since that time.

National Lockdown - England

A national lockdown is currently in place. See

A national lockdown means ‘stay at home’ apart from in a few specific circumstances which are defined in the government’s guidance and the legislation which underpins it. These measures are necessary to protect the NHS and save lives.

A national lockdown means that hair and beauty businesses (also described as personal care facilities, or close contact services) must now close. This means hair and barber shops, beauty, tanning and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage services, body and skin piercing. Closure also means that these services should not be provided in other people’s homes.

This Hair and Beauty Coronavirus Bulletin, as supplemented and amended by the changes contained in this Flash Update, is a comprehensive guide for hair and beauty businesses when they are allowed to operate again.

Face coverings, Type II masks, visors and goggles

Remind customers to wear face coverings at all times when on your premises. This is a basic face covering which covers the nose and mouth.

Face coverings help protect others, not the wearer and are not personal protective equipment (PPE).

For workers/practitioners providing close contact services to clients, an enhanced standard is required: face visors or goggles (which are PPE) AND a Type II face mask should be worn together, at all times, when working on a client’s ‘high risk zone.’ It is not sufficient to wear just one or the other when working in the ‘high risk zone.’

Note that the visor or goggles chosen must fit properly. This means, for visors: it should cover the forehead, extend below the chin, and wrap around the side of the face. Both disposable and re-usable visors are available. A re-usable visor must be cleaned and disinfected between each client using normal cleaning products.

For goggles: goggles must be close fitting with no obvious openings or vents that would otherwise allow droplets to enter the eyes. Reusable eye protection should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The Type II face mask is a protective 3-ply construction.

There are a few circumstances in which a person may be exempt from the requirement to wear a face covering (whether they are your customers, delivery drivers or your workers). Read more on these exemptions in the government guidance, given below.

The vast majority of customers will wear a face covering at all times when on your premises. There are a few scenarios when it’s ok to remove it temporarily. This includes when receiving a facial treatment which requires the practitioner to work on the face. The covering should be replaced as soon as it is possible to do so.

Remember that the wearing of any kind of face covering or mask could make communication difficult with those who rely on lip reading, facial expressions or clear speech.

Remind your workers about how to safely use, store, clean and dispose of their Type II masks and visors/goggles.

This page contains the latest government guidance on the above:

Social distancing – reminders

It is your responsibility (as the person in charge of the premises) to ensure that everyone on your premises follows the social distancing rules. Take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the law. Using posters and signage may help with this.

If your trade takes you into other people’s homes, it is sensible to call ahead to remind the client about maintaining social distancing guidelines from other people in the family. Also, to check whether the client or any member of their household or bubble is showing symptoms of coronavirus.

NHS Test and Trace

There a few business types where following the rules of NHS Test and Trace is a legal requirement – the hair and beauty sector is one of them.

Many other types of business, such as food retailers, may choose to be involved too and may voluntarily display their own QR code.

As a hair and beauty business you must be particularly vigilant about this. Ensure that your poster is promptly displayed and encourage all clients to scan prior to entering the premises.

It would be sensible to ask clients if they’ve successfully scanned the QR code when they arrive at reception and check in for their treatment. At the same time, you could ask your COVID-19 screening questions – see the main Bulletin for suggested wording of these.

Those who cannot or do not want to scan the QR code should provide you with particular pieces of information which you should then retain.

Failure to follow these requirements could lead to a fixed penalty fine levied on the person responsible for the business.

Also bear in mind that you should not make scanning the QR code (or taking a person’s details if they can’t/won’t scan it), a pre-condition of entry, because individuals have the right to decline. Encourage them to participate as best you can.

More information is here:

Wellbeing and mental health aspects of COVID-19

For many months now, coronavirus has affected the working and social lives of everyone, as well as their families. Many adults now have additional caring responsibilities. Others may have financial or health worries. Everyone reacts differently to challenges like these. There’s a growing realisation that tolerance and understanding are becoming an increasingly important part of how we interact with each other.

More information is here:

Tiering and the clinically extremely vulnerable

Advice on returning to work for this group of people differs according to which Tier the local authority is in (prior to the current national lockdown).

With local lockdowns in place, for Tier 1 and Tier 2: the clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to work from home where possible but can still attend work if they cannot work from home.

For Tier 3: Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are strongly advised to work from home but can still attend work if they cannot work from home. Employers should consider whether clinically extremely vulnerable individuals can perform a different role in the workplace which keeps them further away from the risk of infection. It would also be sensible to change working patterns temporarily if this avoids travelling during busy periods.

Tier 4: Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are strongly advised to work from home. If this is not possible, then these individuals should not attend work. Employers should consider if clinically extremely vulnerable individuals can take an alternative role or change working patterns to enable working from home. If this is not possible, then these individuals should not be required to attend work, but perhaps consider using the furlough scheme – discuss this with the individuals concerned.

People who need to self-isolate

Keeping those who are unwell out of the premises (whether they are a worker or a client), is a really important step to stop infection spreading.
This means those who already have symptoms of COVID-19, or someone in their household or support bubble has symptoms, or those who are advised to self-isolate as part of NHS Test and Trace.

The self-isolation period is now 10 days, not 14 days.

More information is here:

Provision of food and drink

Hot and cold drinks could be provided to clients using disposable cups/bottles more safely than using crockery which will require handling and washing up.

Outbreaks in the workplace

If there are withmore than 5 cases of COVID-19 in 14 days associated with your workplace, you should contact your local PHE health protection team:


In June 2020 the Government added a new section especially for ‘close contact services’ to its Working Safely suite of guidance. It has been updated several times since.

This Bulletin is written to help those businesses which are reopening as well as others who are planning to reopen in the future. The Bulletin summarises the key elements of the Government’s guidance and provides links to other reputable sources too. It focuses on these types of ‘close contact services’: hairdressing, barbershops, beauty & nail bars, makeup, tattoo & spray tanning, spa and massage therapy.

The National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) is a valued partner of CTSI and has produced its own reopening guide for the sector which can be obtained from its website, along with other COVID-19 resources:

This Bulletin will help you make your premises COVID 19 Secure.

COVID-19 - the challenge

COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus. It sticks to all sorts of surfaces, including skin, and can survive for hours or days, according to the surface material. Plastic keeps the virus viable for up to 72 hours, whereas stainless steel is up to 48 hours. For cardboard it’s 24 hours and for copper, just 4 hours.*

*Reference: New England Journal of Medicine

Current evidence suggests that COVID-19 spreads between people through direct, indirect (through contaminated objects or surfaces), or close contact with infected people via mouth and nose secretions. These include saliva, respiratory secretions or secretion droplets. These are released from the mouth or nose when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings, for example. People who are in close contact (within 1 metre) with an infected person can catch COVID-19 when those infectious droplets get into their mouth, nose or eyes.*

Reference: World Health Organisation, July 2020

The incubation period of the virus is an average of 5 days and most people will not be infectious until they show symptoms.
There are things that every workplace can do to minimise the spread of COVID-19 amongst its workers, customers and clients, delivery drivers, visitors – in fact everyone who might come onto the premises or be affected by it.

The hair and beauty sector involves workplaces, salons and services that bring people in very close proximity to one another, often in the head or face area (referred to as the ‘highest risk zone’ in the Government’s guidance). These activities present the most difficult challenges when it comes to minimising the spread of COVID-19 and operating safely. The sometimes unpredictable nature of clients’ behaviour adds to the challenge.

What is the 'highest risk zone'?

The area in front of the face where splashes and droplets from the nose and mouth may be present, which can pose a hazard. The greatest risk of transmission of the virus is nearest this zone.

Returning to the workplace

Talk to your workers before they return to work - they may have concerns. Help them understand the new measures in place to make the workplace COVID secure; this will help to reassure them. This is especially important for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable

Be mindful of those workers who are at a higher risk of infection and consider this as part of your risk assessment. This includes:

  • Older males
  • Those with a high Body Mass Index
  • Have diabetes
  • Are from some Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

See this Public Health England report for more details: and s.3 of the Government’s guidance.  No-one should be forced to work in an unsafe workplace.


Health and safety and risk assessment

Health and safety law requires employers to protect people from harm. This means considering all risks posed to workers, clients and anyone else who might be affected and to minimise those risks to the lowest level they can be.  The rules have been in place for many years.

If you have five or more employees you must keep a written record of your risk assessments, including your COVID-19 risk assessment and involve them in its creation.

If you have under five staff, it’s still good practice to have a written record of your risk assessments and share them with your employees.

In a salon environment, this is a considerable challenge even in non-COVID times, given the breadth of things you should consider. But the task of assessing the risks isn’t usually as daunting as it seems. There are a lot of good quality free templates and resources available these days and this Bulletin will point you to them.

As a responsible business, your risk assessment will already have considered a multitude of things, including the use of chemicals (in dyes for lashes and hair), glues (for nails), machinery and equipment (for treatments) but also things like using cleaning products without damaging skin, or how to safely store products so as not to cause a tripping hazard or whether the lighting for a staircase is bright enough to prevent a tumble, for example.

The NHBF provides templates for risk assessments appropriate in a salon environment:

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health also provides a guide to assist salons and spas as they reopen:

The Health and Safety Executive has lots of good advice on risk assessment too:

From time to time you may be inspected by Environmental Health Officers from your local authority (local council). These are highly trained professionals whose job it is to check that you’re complying with the health and safety and licensing requirements applicable to your premises, keeping everyone safe. They will give you advice and may signpost you to templates and sources of information to help you. They work closely with the Health and Safety Executive.

Local councils’ websites are often a source of helpful and free information on many topics, usually tailored for a local audience too.

You can find your local authority here:

Enforcement is always a last resort and only usually used for persistent offenders, or those who have the most blatant disregard for the rules or when things go very wrong. Enforcement can mean the service of notices requiring steps to be taken and can also lead to significant fines or imprisonment.

Enforcement can also mean the closure of premises, where employers are not taking appropriate action to ensure social distancing.

COVID-19 is a new type of risk that must now be assessed too.

From 15th August, all services - including those in the ‘highest risk zone’ - may be provided.

BUT - they can only be provided if they are provided safely.

The Government’s guidance (Close Contact Services) and this Bulletin are designed to help you provide services safely.

But ultimately, your COVID-19 risk assessment is how you decide what services you can safely provide on your premises and how you will provide them.

Your risk assessment means assessing the risks from COVID-19 for each service provided and then deciding which steps you need to take (i.e. which ‘mitigation measures’ to use) to make it as safe as possible for the client and for the practitioner delivering it.

Putting sufficient mitigation measure into place is also a legal requirement.

This means:

  • Think about the virus and how it's transmitted
  • Identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus
  • Think about who could be at risk
  • Decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed
  • Act to remove the activity or situation, or if this isn't possible, control the risk

Failure to complete a risk assessment (including a coronavirus risk assessment) or to put in place sufficient measures to control the risks identified, could be a breach of health and safety law.

This could lead to enforcement action and may affect your future licence applications (e.g. a skin piercing licence).

Remember that it’s your responsibility to keep up to date with the rules

It’s a good idea to involve your workers when producing your risk assessment – they are often best placed to understand the risks

Every premises is different and the way in which services are delivered may also be different. This is why your own risk assessment is so important.

Risk assessment templates will help you think about the task, but you must ensure that your findings suit YOUR premises and the mitigation measures you choose to use are sufficient for YOUR circumstances.

  • Your risk assessment should consider the risks of COVID-19 to workers and clients, delivery drivers, visitors - anyone who comes onto your premises.
  • Ensure that your risk assessment for COVID-19 considers every aspect of salon life in relation to COVID-19, not only when providing treatments but also when welcoming and booking in clients, the arrival and departure of staff, cleaning, breakout areas, eating and drinking, receiving deliveries etc. The checklist below may help

You will need to review your risk assessment at sensible intervals or if you make any changes which could impact on your control measures.

At the time of writing, spas should keep saunas and steam rooms closed until further notice.

Gyms, hot tubs, spa pools, whirlpools, hydrotherapy and swimming pools are covered be separate Government guidance:


Managing risk – in practice

These are some of the practical steps you can take to make your workplace COVID-19 Secure.

Your risk assessment will help you decide which are best for your premises, bearing in mind that you must reduce the risk from COVID-19 as far as far as you reasonably can for your workers and clients, so you will probably need to follow as many of these as possible, not just one or two of them.

  1. Ensure workers and clients who feel unwell stay at home
  2. Increase the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning
  3. Comply with the social distancing guidelines (two metres, or one metre with risk mitigation* where two metres is not possible)
  4. Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to a particular activity or treatment, you should consider whether you can redesign or in some way alter the way it's delivered to achieve social distancing guidelines

*The all-important risk mitigation measures are:

  • Increasing hand washing and surface cleaning.
  • Keeping the activity time as short as possible.
  • Using screens to separate clients from one another
  • Everyone working in close proximity to clients for an extended period of time must wear a visor and a Type II face mask (therefore screens between the practitioner and the client will not be necessary).  Close proximity means about an arm’s-length away for a sustained period of time
  • Working from the back (behind the client), or from the side, circling the client
  • Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
  • Avoiding skin-to-skin contact wherever possible (unless crucial for the treatment) and using gloves where possible
  • Using a consistent pairing system, defined as fixing which workers work together, if workers have to be in close proximity
  • Keeping background music at a low level will help avoid the need to shout, which could transmit aerosol droplets

Even after re-design or alteration of the treatment or activity, if social distancing guidelines cannot be met, then consider whether that treatment needs to continue for the business to operate.  If no, then stop the activity.  

If yes, then take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the transmission.

Working in close proximity to clients for a sustained period of time, or working in the client’s ‘highest risk zone’ means that a visor or safety goggles together with a Type II face mask will be required.

These measures will reduce potential transmission from the practitioner to the client.

What is a Type II face mask?

The highest risk activities in the highest risk zone

Following the Government’s guidance or this Bulletin will help you maintain a ‘COVID-19 safe’ premises and therefore keep people on your premises safe too.

But sometimes, services in the highest risk zone will be so high risk that you may need to take more steps.

For example, the highest risk services in the highest risk zone (those which place a practitioner only a few centimetres from the mouth or nose of a client, such that the breath and aerosol droplets from a client could be inhaled, especially during a cough or sneeze), might require more steps. In these circumstances, transmission is most likely and so this particular service should be stopped, or redesigned to make it safer….or as a last resort, proper PPE should be provided.

In this context, PPE would be specifically chosen for the task, CE marked and fitted for the wearer. This might include CE marked safety goggles, or a Type IIR mask. There’s more information here:

Particular attention should also be paid to avoiding contact with surfaces near to the client and thoroughly cleaning those surfaces after each client.

It is important to put on and use a face mask safely.  Close Contact Services (section 6.1) contains instructions on this.


Remember that your risk assessment should take into account if your staff are especially vulnerable to contracting coronavirus.

Remember to think about the needs of vulnerable clients such as those who may not understand your instructions or be physically unable to follow them. Vulnerable clients also include those who may be more likely to contract the virus.

Guidance on vulnerability of staff is in section 3.1 of the Government’s guidance See also Returning to the Workplace of this Bulletin.

Advice to clients (in advance and on the day of the appointment, as appropriate)

These are some of the most likely steps you will need to take. You may decide to let your clients know about them via your usual methods of communication , i.e. by email, text, social media and your website, perhaps when you have a definite reopening date. Notices on the door or window would be a good idea too, to act as a reminder before clients enter the premises.
Explain that:

  • It may be difficult to get an appointment at first due to high demand.
  • Services will be by appointment only (not walk-ins), to allow sufficient time and space between clients for additional cleaning and to ask the screening questions in advance.
  • Some services and treatments may not be on offer until further notice.
  • Appointments will be slightly longer to take account of cleaning time in between clients
  • You have put measures in place to protect staff and clients during their appointment.
  • Clients will be required to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the salon
  • They will need to comply with your health & safety measures during their appointment.
  • They must not come in if they feel unwell or live with someone who is unwell – you could use a pre-service screening questionnaire for this, sent by email in advance which should be returned ahead of the appointment. Or it could be completed over the phone. See below for some questions to include in a questionnaire
  • You would prefer contactless payments, if not, pay ahead for treatments over the phone
  • Clients should arrive at their allotted time to avoid overlap with others and to attend on their own, if possible, as there will (possibly) be no waiting area.

Groups of 6

Note the new limits on groups of 6 which commenced on 14th September. See

Pre-service screening questionnaire

(You can reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 coming onto your premises in the first place by using a pre-screening questionnaire - this is a great way of reducing the risk for all. These three simple questions can be asked of the client at the time of booking and reviewed on the day of the appointment, to help keep everyone safe).

If a client refuses to answer, or if it is obvious that they are not telling the truth, then it is your decision as the operator of the  business, if you want to accept them as a client at that time).

  • Have you had a recent onset of a new, continuous cough?
  • Do you have a high temperature?
  • Have you noticed a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell?

(the taking of a client’s temperature using a hand-held thermometer ‘gun’ isn’t a reliable indicator on its own)

If a client has any of these symptoms, however mild, they should stay at home, contact the NHS via 111 (or online) for advice and reschedule their appointment

Advice to your workers

No-one should come into work if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with anyone who has symptoms. See the Government’s guidance on self-isolating (section 3.2 of Close Contact Services)

Update workers on all the new measures in place, especially handwashing and social distancing

If you’ve introduced queue management or one-way flow, or perhaps altered entrances/exits, explain why this is needed and ensure signage is clear.
Uniforms should be changed daily, ideally on site

Workstations should be assigned to individuals (or fixed pairings) where possible
Break times could be staggered to reduce the pressure on staff areas (if this is an issue).
Advise workers that clients who refuse to follow the rules should be encouraged to do so as far as possible. Ultimately, the operator of the salon has the right to exclude any individual if necessary.


Physical contact with delivered items that have been handled by others, or with those delivering them, can be minimised by reducing the frequency of deliveries (larger quantities and less often?) and scheduling deliveries for outside client appointment times.

Goods arriving should be cleaned. Establishing pick-up and drop-off points for deliveries is a good idea to minimise person-to-person contact, if there’s space for this.

Visors, goggles, masks and more - what you should know

  1. A clear visor or goggles should be worn when working in a client’s ‘highest risk zone’ or when working in close proximity to a client (or several clients) during the day.
  2. A visor must fit the user and be worn properly, providing a barrier to liquid splashes. It should cover the forehead, extend below the chin and wrap around the side of the face. A visor should be optically clear, resistant to fogging and have an adjustable head band. Goggles should be polycarbonate safety spectacles or equivalent.
  3. A Type II face mask should be worn with the visor or goggles when working in the highest risk zone. The Type II face mask will help to protect the client by acting as a physical barrier to aerosol droplets coming from the wearer.
  4. Ordinary face coverings (the kind worn by members of the public in shops and on public transport) are not a suitable substitute for a visor or a Type II face mask worn by a practitioner.
  5. For the highest risk activities in the highest risk zone, proper PPE may be required (CE marked, etc.) to protect the practitioner. Your risk assessment will help you decide.
  6. There is no need for a practitioner to wear a visor or a Type II face mask when the client is not having a treatment or service but social distancing should be maintained
  7. Practitioners should continue to wear other types of PPE if required for the task, e.g. aprons and gloves that would normally be used when applying hair dye.
  8. It is important to wear, handle and clean a Type II face mask properly. More detail on how to put on, use and take off a face mask can be found in s.6 of the Government’s guidance, here:
  9. From 8th August, members of the public are required to wear face coverings in premises providing personal care and beauty treatments. See here for more information:  Client’s face coverings should be worn while on the
  10. Help clients to wear their face coverings properly, using notices at the entrance. You are not obliged to provide face coverings for clients but you can control who comes onto your premises. The key steps for clients/face coverings are:
    - wash hands/use sanitizer before putting it on
    - avoid touching the face or face covering when wearing it
    - change it if it becomes damp
  11. Exemptions - remember that not everyone has to wear a face covering if they have a legitimate reason not to. This includes those with a physical or mental illness or disability, or for whom the wearing of a mask will cause severe distress. More on this here:

NHS Test and Trace

The NHS Test and Trace programme has been established to help with the country’s COVID-19 response.

The NHS tracing staff use information to help minimise transmission of the virus, to help keep people safe and reduce the need for further lockdowns.

The information that the NHS staff may need to access is collected by you as the operator of the premises or via an official NHS QR poster displayed at the entrance to your premises.

This is now a legal requirement.  

You should generate your official NHS QR poster online, here:

These requirements apply to close contact services,
hospitality and the tourism and leisure industry.

The Government’s information is here:

If you are in any doubt about the legitimacy of someone
asking for these details, see the government guidance, here:


Those delivering to you are exempt, as are those under 16. If you believe that someone does not have the mental capacity to provide their contact details you may decide to not ask them for it.

As the person responsible for the business, the law requires you to comply with NHS Test and Trace requirements and there are penalties for not doing so.


  • The names of staff who work at the premises
  • A contact phone number for each member of staff
  • The dates and times that staff are at work

Customers, clients and visitors:

  • The name of the customer, client or visitor. If there is more than one person, then you can record the name of the ‘lead member’ of the group and the number of people in the group
  • A contact phone number for each, or for the lead member of a group of people
  • Date of visit, arrival time and, where possible, departure time
  • If a customer/client will interact with only one member of staff (e.g. a hairdresser), the name of the assigned staff member should be recorded alongside the name of the customer

It’s likely that you will already record this information as part of your booking process, in which case you could simply display a notice on your website (or on your premises), setting out that the data given at the time of booking will be passed to the NHS Test and Trace team if needed, to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Using a notice saves having to inform every customer individually.

Display an official NHS QR poster. This means that those using the NHS COVID-19 app can scan the poster to ‘check in’ when on your premises. Those who do this won’t need to also provide details to you via your temporary record arrangements, outlined above.

You can register for your NHS QR code here:


Along with social distancing, cleaning is one of the most important control measures when it comes to COVID-19 and all your cleaning steps should be considered as part of your risk assessment. The right materials used in the right way, are key.

The Government’s guidance on cleaning outside the home (in a workplace) is here:

Allow time between appointments for cleaning seats, surfaces and items which may have been touched by clients or other workers

Door handles and other items touched frequently should be prioritised.

Toilets and washrooms

These can be kept open for staff and clients providing they are properly managed. Indeed, washrooms are essential for maintaining good personal hygiene. Your risk assessment should take toilets and washrooms into account.
Posters and signage will be helpful reminders for all, in particular, the queuing arrangements (one in, one out? Floor markings?) – and don’t forget the likelihood of bottlenecks forming. Hot and cold running water, soap and drying materials too. For the avoidance of doubt, the use of hot air dryers is acceptable. Good ventilation is key, too.

Providing hand sanitizer for use prior to entering toilets is a good idea.

The same arrangements apply to shower and changing facilities, where their use is unavoidable.

Providing extra cleaning and checks on facilities is sensible, including more regular removal of waste generated.

A useful poster on handwashing, from the World Health Organisation, is here:

And from Public Health England:



A critical element in any salon!

The water system must be considered as water in tanks and pipework may well have been ‘standing’ for a period of time. Warm weather conditions may have created the right environment for Legionella bacteria to grow (Legionella bacteria thrive at temperatures between 20°C and 50°C). Given the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on people’s respiratory systems, more people might be susceptible to Legionnaires’ disease than before.

  • Run taps for 5 minutes
  • Raise the temperature of tanks to at least 60 degrees
  • Disinfect tap and sinks areas

See the CIEH guidance on legionella for more information:

Ventilation, Laundry and Waste

An adequate supply of fresh air in any workplace is important. Good ventilation can help reduce the risk of spreading the virus, whether that’s by mechanical ventilation or opening windows and doors (not fire doors).

Air conditioning systems should be set to ‘fresh air supply’ rather than recirculation.

Increase the ventilation rate as much as possible, without making the environment uncomfortable. Don’t forget to check filters in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

Disposable gowns and towels, or washable ones that will be washed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, will suffice. No additional temperatures or chemicals are needed. See the Government’s guidance on cleaning:

Waste should be collected and removed as often as required to prevent any over spilling items. Black bags and usual collection arrangements will suffice.

If someone on site shows symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive for it, then other steps should be taken – see the Government’s guidance on cleaning, given above.


In an emergency, for example, an accident or fire, people do not have to maintain social distancing if it would be unsafe.

People involved in the provision of assistance to others should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards including washing hands.

You’ll already be familiar with RIDDOR reporting (the reporting of accidents, diseases and dangerous occurrences) and for COVID-19 there’s clarification from the HSE on when to make a report: coronavirus.htm


What if I get an outbreak?

Your risk assessment should include a plan for this. It could include the following:

  • Who will lead on making contact with the local Public Health Team
  • What are the contact details? See
  • You may need to provide assistance in identifying contacts via the NHS Test & Trace system

Nearly ready to open?

Here's a checklist as a final reminder:

  • Let your employees know the date and the new arrangements and what they must do to protect themselves and others
  • Plan to manage demand - how many clients can you fit in at a time to meet social distancing? Will you prioritise clients or operate a 'first come first served' approach? What about a 'vulnerable clients' hour at less busy times? Longer hours, shift working? Waiting areas? Allow more time between clients for cleaning
  • Update your website with the new rules and how to book. If you don't have a website, display the information at the entrance to the salon.
  • Contact your clients - see Advice to Clients (above)
  • Risk assessment - carry out your risk assessment and involve your workers in its creation - they may know the job better than you! Share the results with them too.
  • Order equipment and cleaning supplies - make a list and allow extra time for deliveries:
    • PPE (gloves, aprons etc.) and face visors
    • Fit screens or barriers at reception and inbetween clients/workstations, if your risk assessment shows that this is an appropriate mitigation measure for your premises
    • Cleaning materials - are they up to the job?
    • Cleaning equipment such as mops, and disposable or washable cleaning cloths.
    • A steam cleaner if you have upholstered furniture.
    • Clothes washing powder/gel/liquid for towels/uniforms etc.
    • Handwashing soap.
    • Hand sanitiser (which must be 60- 95% alcohol content) for clients to use (team members should wash their hands regularly using soap and water).
    • Disposable tissues.
    • Soap dispensers.
    • Paper towels for washrooms.
    • Bins and disposable bin liners.
    • Additional waste storage.
    • Sterilising equipment.
    • Single-use tools for use where possible.
    • Towels/disposable towels.

Clean, clean, clean!

  • Check everything works:
    • Water systems (see legionella information above)
    • Heating and ventilation systems
    • Electricity and gas supplies
    • Computers
    • Salon software
    • Payment systems
    • Phones
  • Put up notices on the door or window:
    • Your reopening date.
    • Opening times.
    • How to make appointments (by phone - not in person).
    • Advance warning about the protective measures you will have in place.
    • An instruction to clients not to enter your salon/barbershop if they feel unwell or live with someone who is unwell.
    • Display the Government's poster so everyone can see your commitment to your responsibilities
  • Put up notices in the salon as reminders:
    • Touch as little as possible and avoid touching retail displays.
    • Sneeze and cough into tissues and dispose of the tissues immediately.
    • Wash or sanitize their hands, for example, after coughing/sneezing or going to the loo.
    • Pay using contactless. Place a reminder at the till of the maximum amount that can be paid using this method to encourage clients to use contactless.
    • Not to pass on cash tips hand-to- hand - use the containers provided.
  • Remove items that clients will handle:
    • Style/treatment example books. (Ensure clients don't handle iPads when showing styles/treatments online.)
    • Magazines and newspapers.
    • Books and toys for children.
    • Product testers.
    • Leaflets and loose price lists.
    • Only allow water to be consumed indoors, no food. Perhaps obtain a water cooler or a supply of bottled water?

FAQ and Links to other sources

England only. This bulletin excludes areas subject to local lockdowns. See Government guidance on the latest position for local lockdowns:

Q1: What are the rules about clients wearing face coverings and social distancing etc. when on my premises?

The government guidance at the current time is that from 8th August, members of the public will be required to wear face coverings in a greater number of places, including nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers. This applies ‘other than where necessary to remove for treatments.’

You and your client will need to agree when it’s a sensible moment for them to remove their face covering and when to put it on again. Different treatments will necessarily mean different timings for on/off - do the best you can.

The most effective methods of preventing the transmission of COVID-19 are still social distancing and regular handwashing. These steps should still be followed as far as possible.

As the proprietor of the business, you set the rules for clients when they are on your premises, this means you can insist on them you are entitled to ask them to leave.  Remember that you have a legal responsibility to protect anyone on site from harm, so if one customer threatens to jeopardise that, you should act accordingly.

Enforcement of face coverings worn by members of the public in shops and other indoor environments, is carried out by the police. More details are here:


Q2: Do I need to close my business if a customer tells me that they have tested positive for COVID-19 after they have been for a treatment in my premises?

The customer should confirm to you that they have been in contact with the NHS Test and Trace service and are following the advice given.

(If the customer has not followed the advice given then contact your local health protection team for advice).

Test and Trace will be interested in those people that the customer has been ‘in close contact’ with during the 48 hours prior to developing symptoms and since developing symptoms.

Close contact means:

  • Having face-to-face contact with someone (less than 1 metre away)
  • Spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone
  • Have recently visited a setting with other people (which might include your premises)

You may therefore be contacted by Test and Trace, so be prepared to provide information about your workers and other customers that may have come into contact with them (see the Bulletin section ‘NHS Test and Trace’).

You will not automatically be obliged to close your business.

If you are working in teams or zones, as part of your mitigation measures, it might be possible to narrow down those who were more likely to have been in significant contact with the infected person, so only this team will need to self-isolate. This is why one of the suggested ‘mitigation measures’ is working in teams, or zones.

Q3: Should a practitioner wear a visor when providing services to clients' hands, for example, a manicure?

Social distancing is the key here. In reality, 2m is likely to be unachievable when providing a manicure for a client, so 1m + mitigation is needed.

In the case of a manicure, a screen of the right size between the practitioner and the client is likely to be satisfactory in most cases.  This will achieve 1m + mitigation (the screen being the mitigation).
Your risk assessment should assess how the manicure is carried out in your particular premises, to make sure a screen will suffice.

Consider if other services are being provided close by, as additional screening might be needed if distances are less than 2m.

Don’t forget to check the list of other mitigating measures too, and put into place as many of these as you can.

Q4: What about having children on the premises?

There are no specific rules about children other than that salons should request that clients keep children under control in order to most effectively reduce any risk of spreading the virus. Ideally, clients will also arrive alone and on time (so as not to cause a queue in reception which will have to be managed – and might require customers to wait outside).

Q5: Should I keep the toilets closed or restricted to workers only?

No. With the right steps in place, there is no reason to close your toilets. Remember to increase the cleaning programme and the checks on availability of soap etc. and to empty the waste more often.

Q6. Can I continue with my 'drop in' system, rather than appointment only?

No. The government guidance says businesses should operate an appointment only system, maintain social distancing in waiting areas and consider moving to a one-in-one-out policy.  You must now keep a temporary record of clients and visitors and display the NHS QR poster to assist NHS Test and Trace.

When taking bookings, remember to ask the client the screening questions, as outlined in the earlier part of this Bulletin.

If the client has any of the symptoms, however mild, they should stay at home and reschedule their appointment. Contact the NHS too.

Q7. Why should I only offer bottled water or water in disposable cups?

This helps keep things simple. If you continue to offer the full range of refreshments, this generates a lot of equipment which will need washing or disposing of, plus someone to collect it all and handle it safely, generating additional movements around the premises and bringing people closer to each other than strictly needed. If your risk assessment can demonstrate that you’ve thought about all of this and can safely continue to offer a wider menu of refreshments, then continue to do so.

Q8: What about the use of fans in the salon during hot weather?

The government has not made any rules or recommendations about this. Good ventilation is sensible because air changes help remove the virus from the vicinity. Fans used with windows shut could conceivably spread the virus in a closed environment, though the risk is low. Fans + open windows is better. There is more information about this from the Health and Safety Executive:

Q9: Should I be temperature-screening clients on arrival using a thermometer gun (a non-contact infra-red thermometer)?

No. Elevated temperature is one of the symptoms of COVID-19. However, it is possible that someone may have the virus but not exhibit any symptoms and their temperature may show as normal.  Equally, someone may have an elevated temperature for another medical or physical reason, not connected to COVID-19.

Add to this the fact that the equipment itself may be untested or uncalibrated or used incorrectly or the readings misinterpreted.

Therefore, relying solely on this is risky. Temperature controls could be part of a screening process which includes further questions about medical history or recording very obvious symptoms – this would all be part of the risk assessment that you use to determine whether a client may be booked for an appointment.

Links to Other Sources


Working Safely during coronavirus (COVID-19), including its 14 chapters for different sectors, including Close Contact Services (hair and beauty sector):

Coronavirus (COVID-19) pages:

Transmission characteristics and principles of infection prevention and control

From the National Hair & Beauty Federation

Website: with links to a Reopening Guide, FAQ, risk assessments and other documentation. Available to members and non-members (some free of charge).

Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

Reopening salons and spas following lockdown


Looking after your mental health and wellbeing:

From the Health and Safety Executive

Website: Risk assessment, communicating with workers, protecting the vulnerable, cleaning, etc.

The control of legionella:

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