Bookmark this post to keep up to date with lockdown news across the four nations.

Please note: rules can vary across the country when lockdowns are imposed. If you have specific questions about your particular area, please contact your local authority. You can find your local authority on the government website. You can also email the Department of Health and Social Care with any queries about local lockdowns:

Find out what financial support is available across the four nations.

This blog post covers: 

What is a local lockdown? 

A local lockdown applies to a specific area where measures are imposed to control a local spike in coronavirus infections. A number of different measures can be imposed, including one or all of the following:

  • Certain shops and venues are closed.
  • Public events are cancelled.
  • People are asked not to travel into the area.
  • Residents are asked not to travel outside the area or to city centres.
  • Visiting between households is restricted.
  • The number of people who can gather together indoors or outdoors is restricted.
  • Hospital and care home visits are restricted. 

Clean basin

Lockdowns: England 


The government published a ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown on 22 February 2021. 

‘Personal care premises’ including hairdressers, salons and close contact services will be allowed to open in step two of the roadmap. (This includes mobile and those who work from their own home.) Step two will begin at least five weeks after 8 March 2021 (when step one begins) and no earlier than 12 April 2021. 

Saunas and steam rooms cannot open until step 3 of the roadmap which is due to start no earlier than 17 May, and at least five weeks after step 2. Find out more on the government website. Download a pdf of the full roadmap.

The current situation

England is currently in a national lockdown. This means that all personal care services (including mobile) must close. Personal care services include hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, and body and skin piercing services. 

 Find out more on the government website.

The detailed guidance for closed businesses in England can be read on the government website. Key points for the hair and beauty industry include:

Venues may continue to sell retail goods (such as shampoo or beauty products) online or via click-and-collect.

Those who provide personal care services from a mobile setting including their own home, in other people’s homes and in retail environments (such as a concession in a larger, separate business) must also stop operating.

Personal care services provided for essential medical and health needs which cannot be delayed may continue. For example, treatments for a diagnosed health condition or injury that is currently causing severe pain or mobility issues, or severely impacting quality of life, or for cosmetic treatments associated with cancer treatment. This does not include services provided for general stress relief, relaxation or preventative healthcare purposes. The guidance on safer working should always be followed.

Make-up artists in film and TV production, and on fashion shoots can continue to work, but not in premises required to close.

When can training start again?  

Training providers 

Independent and private training providers in the personal care services sector can reopen on 8 March 2021 to offer practical and hands-on training and assessment. They must follow government guidance for reopening.  

Training in salons and barbershops

Training can take place in salons and barbershops from 8 March 2021 if: 

Training cannot be done remotely.
Everyone taking part is a staff member.
No members of the public are involved. 


On 18 July, the government gave new powers to local authorities in England enabling them to close individual premises and public places and to restrict events. Previously, they had to apply for a court order. Local authorities must review their decisions every seven days. These powers are in place until 17 January 2021. 

The health secretary can close and restrict access to individual premises under the Coronavirus Act 2020. 

The government can put in place a local lockdown in England under the Public Health Act 1984. 

Covid haircut

Lockdowns: Wales 


Wales is currently under lockdown. The measures are reviewed every three weeks. On 19 February 2021, the Welsh government announced that the reopening of close contact services would be considered at the next three-week review. Find out more on the Welsh Government website.

The current situation

Wales: close contact businesses must close under level four 

Wales is currently under lockdown. 

All close contact businesses were required to close from midnight on 19 December 2020. (The previous closing date was Christmas Eve.)

Wales moved to level four on 28 December. Close contact businesses including mobile cannot operate under level four. 

Find out more on the Welsh Government website. 

Download a pdf from the Welsh Government website which clearly explains what is allowed under levels one to four. 


The Welsh Government is advising hair and beauty businesses to check back often for the latest guidance on providing close contact services as this will be kept under review. You can also read the government’s Q&As on close contact services.

There are now four alert levels in Wales:

  • Alert level one (low-risk) – this represents the closest to normality we are likely to have before the summer and the widespread take-up of vaccinations.
  • Alert level two (medium-risk) – additional, targeted controls are put in place to maintain infection rates at lower levels. These may be complemented by more targeted local restrictions to manage specific incidents and outbreaks.
  • Alert level three (high-risk) – this is the strictest package of restrictions, short of a firebreak or lockdown. Wales is currently at this alert level: close contact services remain open.
  • Alert level four (very high risk) – restrictions at this level are equivalent to a lockdown and reflect the seriousness of the situation. At this level, close contact services must close.

Download a pdf from the Welsh Government website which clearly sets out what is allowed at each level.

Lockdowns: Scotland 



First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that from 26 April 2021, subject to transmission, hospital and death rates continuing to fall, Scotland will begin a phased reopening of the economy. The First Minister will provide a more detailed plan on the phasing of the reopening in three weeks (mid-March). 


From 5 April, click-and-collect will resume for non-essential retail, (subject to conditions being met).

Mainland Scotland is currently under lockdown.*  Find out more on the Scottish Government website.

 All close contact services must remain closed. 

Update 20 January 2021: Barra and Vatersay were moved into lockdown on Wednesday, 20 January 2021 following a sharp increase in infection rates. 

The following will remain at level 3:

The following islands within Argyll and Bute: Coll, Colonsay, Erraid, Gometra, Iona, Islay, Jura, Mull, Oronsay, Tiree, and Ulva
All islands in Highland, with the exception of Skye

 In these areas only:

Salons and barbershops can open.
Mobile hairdressing and barbering can operate.
Close contact services delivered from a salon, shop or other static site such as a home treatment room can operate. 
All other types of mobile close contact services are not permitted.


These measures will be kept under regular review. 

Find out more on the Scottish Government website.


Lockdowns in Northern Ireland 

Northern Ireland is under lockdown. Close contact businesses must close (including mobile). The current regulations are in place until 1 April 2021, but will be reviewed on 18 March 2021.

 Find out more on the Northern Ireland Executive website.

Please note:

  • Those with a genuine medical need will still be able to access specific hair and beauty services by appointment only, but must provide the appropriate medical records.
  • Make-up artists and hair & beauty practitioners working for film and TV will still be able to operate.
  • Click and collect is banned for non-essential businesses forced to close: this includes hair and beauty businesses.
  • Financial packages for the six-week period are expected to be announced shortly. 

Find out more on the Northern Ireland Executive website

Clean work surfaces

NHBF #DoItRight campaign

It’s vital for salons and barbershops to guard against new lockdowns being imposed.  

Salons and barbershops must continue to follow the relevant guidelines to help reassure and protect both staff and clients. This means using the correct PPE and carrying out regular cleaning and sanitising, especially between clients. Find out more. 

Says NHBF chief executive Hilary Hall: “By keeping to the rules, you will reduce the risk of local lockdowns and further closures. In addition, bear in mind that if you don’t keep to the guidelines, you may be breaching health & safety law which can lead to fines or even prison.”

#DoItRight campaign

In response to government warnings that it may close the hair and beauty sector again if safety guidelines are ignored, the NHBF has launched a #DoItRight campaign to encourage everyone in the industry to stick to the rules. 

Prevent a no-show in the salon

If your salon or barbershop is told to close 

You may be instructed to close your salon or barbershop again if a local lockdown is imposed.

Find out what financial support is available across the four nations for your business, your employees and self-employed chair/space/room renters.

Inform your staff 

Let your staff know as soon as possible how the local lockdown will affect your salon or barbershop. For example, will you have to close again? Will you have to stop offering certain services and treatments? 

Make sure you and your staff are clear about what’s happening and what needs to be done. 

Can I tell my employees to take paid annual leave?  

You can tell your employees when to take annual leave, but you must give them twice as much notice as the amount of leave you want them to take. NHBF Members can call our membership team on 01234 831965 or our free 24/7 legal helpline to make sure your calculations are correct.  

PPE Manicure

Can I lay off staff or reduce hours? 

Always take legal advice if you need to lay off staff or reduce their working hours. 

Employees who are laid off or asked to work reduced hours will be entitled to full pay unless their employment contract says they don’t have to be paid or can be paid less for hours that aren’t worked. 

There is no limit on the length of time your employees can be laid off or asked to work fewer hours. However, employees can apply for redundancy and redundancy pay if they have been laid off for four weeks in a row or six weeks in a 13-week period.

You must get your employee’s agreement if you want to change the number of hours they work on a permanent basis. 

Inform your clients 

If you need to cancel appointments, let your clients know as soon as possible. 

Explain that you will be in contact again as soon as you can re-book. 

Clean taps

Close down safely 

The Metropolitan Police have issued some guidelines including the following:

  • Test your alarm, ensure it is monitored and fully operational
  • Identify any vulnerable areas. Rectify these. Ensure security gates, bollards and fire
    exit doors have been secured prior to closure of the premises.
  • Make sure you have a list of key holders who can be contacted in times of emergency.
    Ensure your contact details for staff are up to date.
  • Consider moving high value items into secured stockrooms and out of view.
  • Ensure keys to the premises are not left inside and are instead with
    dedicated key holders.
  • Consider timer switches or ensure sufficient lighting is left on at the
    premises/surrounding area.
  • Ensure there are no combustible materials left near the building such as
    packaging - consider the risk of arson.
  • Review your CCTV to confirm it is working, provides good quality images and is
    positioned to cover as much of your premises as possible. You may wish to
    consider a mobile phone app that allows connectivity and a vocal capacity to engage
    with any intruder.
  • External shutters are recommended but some buildings may be subject to planning
    approval before installation
  • Laminated glass or security film can be applied to existing glass to make it more
    resistant to a physical assault. Shutters and grilles (subject to planning regulations may
    also be a consideration).
  • Fogging devices that activate as a result of an intruder activation may also be
    beneficial-you can’t steal what you can’t see.
  • Avoid legionella by regularly flushing through your taps and water outlets if this is possible while complying with the government's current lockdown rules. Find out more on the Legionella Control website.

Will my business insurance cover me for losses caused by the lockdown?  

Check with your insurance provider to see if you are covered.  However, very few businesses have the specific cover that would potentially enable them to claim for the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Read detailed information about this provided by the Association of British Insurers. 

Do my chair/space/room renters have to pay rent if we close again? 

Find detailed information about this here. 

Contactless payment

More information