The reopening guidance for Wales has now been published.

The reopening guidance for Scotland has now been published.

The reopening guidance for England has now been published.

The reopening guidance for Northern Ireland has now been published.




Northern Ireland 

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 help is available across the four nations.

Rules for mobile stylists and therapists across the four nations. 

Clients and face coverings   

Clients must wear a face covering in hair salons, beauty salons and barbershops.   

In England and Wales, face coverings can be removed for close contact treatments on the face. 
In Scotland, the guidance says: "a client may temporarily remove a face covering to receive a treatment to this area. If treatments continue elsewhere, a face covering must be immediately replaced".  
In Northern Ireland you must take reasonable steps to ensure that clients receiving any service wear a face covering unless they have a reasonable excuse not to do so, or it is necessary not to wear a face covering due to the nature of the service. 


What about clients who are exempt from wearing face coverings?  

Some clients will be exempt from wearing a face covering, for example for health reasons.  

This may raise concerns for the health & safety of your staff and other clients.  
In addition, the law says you must protect your staff’s health & safety.  
You will need to strike a balance between:  

Protecting your staff and other clients. 
Ensuring you do not discriminate against clients who are exempt from wearing face coverings.   

You must consider if you can make reasonable adjustments so that you can still offer your client an appointment while also protecting the health & safety of others.


You will need to show that you are:
Taking a reasonable approach. 
Following your risk assessment. 
Making the health & safety of your staff and clients your top priority. 
NHBF Members should get advice from the health & safety team before taking any action.  


Update: 28 September 2020 

In England, individuals are required by law to self-isolate if they test positive or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace. Those breaking the rules will be fined up to a maximum of £10,000 for repeat offenders. 

In addition, it is now an offence for an employer to knowingly permit a worker (including an agency worker) to attend any place other than where the individual is self-isolating. This includes individuals who are required to self-isolate because they live with someone who has tested positive.

This means that if you know your employee has tested positive (or lives with someone who has tested positive), it is now your responsibility to stop the worker from working (unless they can work from home). Any employer who fails to do so will face a fine, starting at £1,000.

There is also an obligation on the worker to tell their employer that they are self-isolating. 

Please note:

Failure to complete a risk assessment which takes account of COVID-19, or completing a risk assessment but failing to put in place sufficient measures to manage the risk of COVID-19, could constitute a breach of health and safety law. The actions the enforcing authority can take include the provision of specific advice to employers to support them to achieve the required standard, through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements. Serious breaches and failure to comply with enforcement notices can constitute a criminal offence, with serious fines and even imprisonment for up to two years. There is also a wider system of enforcement, which includes specific obligations and conditions for licensed premises.




‘Personal care premises’ including hairdressers, salons and close contact services are now allowed to open. 

Mobile businesses should follow the guidance for working in other people’s homes as well as the England guidance

Saunas and steam rooms can open in step 3 of the roadmap which started on 17 May 2021. 

Under step 3 of the roadmap: 

You are able to provide reading materials such as newspapers and magazines in client waiting areas.
You are able to provide refreshments in line with the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services. 


 Find out more on the government website. Download a pdf of the full roadmap.


Reopening FAQs 

The following applies as set out in the updated guidelines for England

Which services can be provided? 

All services can be provided. Saunas and steam rooms are allowed to open under step 3 of the roadmap which started on 17 May 2021.  Services and treatments must be adapted to avoid long periods of face-to-face working. 

Beard trims can be carried out. Find out more about managing risk on the government website. 

What PPE is required? 

Staff should wear a visor and Type II face mask. The NHBF recommends this as best practice to keep staff and clients safe and to reduce the risk of transmission. Find out more on the government website

We are aware that some local authorities are interpreting the guidance more strictly.  They are entitled to do so if they believe it is required by local circumstances.  If in doubt, you should contact your local environmental health team. 

Clients must wear a face covering. The guidance says that clients must not remove their face covering unless this is essential for a particular treatment. Find out more on the government website. 

Unless it is crucial for the treatment, change practices to avoid any potential skin-to-skin contact. You should continue to use gloves for any treatments where there is a risk of contact with blood or body fluids.

Must I self-isolate if I come into contact with someone who tests positive even though I am wearing PPE and following the close contact guidance? 

Yes. The guidance says: 

Individuals contacted via the NHS Test and Trace service, having been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, will still need to self- isolate even if wearing a visor/goggles and Type II face mask at work

Can we serve refreshments? 

You are able to provide refreshments in line with the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services.

Can I provide physical reading materials?

You are able to provide reading materials such as magazines and newspapers in client waiting areas. 

Do we still need to support the test and trace programme? 

Yes. The government guidance says: 

In order to ensure that businesses are able to remain open, you must:

  • Display the official NHS QR code poster. Official NHS QR posters can be generated online.
  • Ask every customer or visitor aged 16 and over to check in to your venue or provide their contact details. Individuals can check in quickly and easily using the NHS COVID-19 app to scan in the NHS QR code poster.
  • Have a system in place to ensure that you can collect information from your customers and visitors who do not have a smartphone or do not want to use the NHS COVID-19 app. You must keep this data for 21 days and provide it to NHS Test and Trace, if it is requested. Check what data you need to collect and how it should be managed.” 

Do I have to display a Covid-secure notice? 

Yes. The guidance says: 

We would expect all businesses to demonstrate to their workers and clients that they have properly assessed their risk and taken appropriate measures to mitigate this. You should do this by displaying a notification in a prominent place in your business and on your website, if you have one. 

You can download a notice from the government website. 

What is new in the latest guidance? 

Additional information includes: 

When can training start again?  

Training providers 

Independent and private training providers in the personal care services sector were allowed to reopen from 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. 



All hair and beauty businesses can now open.

The government’s statement says that this includes mobile. The guidance on working in other people's homes must be followed.

The latest Welsh guidance was last updated on 9 April 2021 

Read the Welsh Government's guidance for hairdressing and beauty businesses.


Reopening FAQs 

What PPE must I wear? 

The following treatments can be carried out safely, whilst wearing a Type II mask and clear visor because they are not within the ‘high risk zone’ which is the area directly in front of a client’s eyes, nose and mouth:

  • Cutting, styling, treating, enhancing and providing chemical services hair on top of the head.
  • Body only waxing.
  • Hand and nail treatments: manicure and pedicure.
  • Manual therapies on the body only: massage treatments.
  • Advanced technical therapy treatments on the body only (electrical or mechanical) galvanic; micro-current; microdermabrasion; low intensity LED light; skin warming devices; high/radio frequency; electrical muscle stimulation, lymphatic drainage
  • Wellbeing and holistic treatments on the body only: Indian head massage, reflexology, reiki, , aromatherapy massage acupressure treatments, body/holistic massage, relaxation strategies and stress management, thermal therapy treatments.
  • Self-tanning: hand-held and spray tanning lotion.
  • UV tanning.
  • Body only electrical epilation.
  • Body only lasers and IPL (laser, intense pulsed light, and lighter emitting diode).
  • Body micro-pigmentation (semi-permanent make-up).
  • Body only skin blemish removal.
  • Body sports therapy.
  • Body only acupuncture and body only aesthetic treatments.

What about high-risk close contact treatments on the face? 

You should only carry out the treatments listed below if you are wearing the right grade PPE. This includes:

  • A fluid-resistant surgical face mask (FRSM).
  • Eye protection (goggles or full face visor).
  • Disposable gloves and apron.

The treatments include:

  • Trimming, detailing, outlining or shaving facial hair (beards, moustaches or eyebrows).
  • Waxing, sugaring or threading services.
  • Manual and technical facial treatments (electrical or mechanical).
  • Advanced facial technical (electrical or mechanical including facial steamers).
  • Eyelash treatments.
  • Make-up application.
  • Dermarolling.
  • Dermaplaning.
  • Microblading.
  • Electrical epilation.
  • Eyebrow treatments.
  • Botulinum toxins and dermal fillers.
  • Lasers and IPL (laser, intense pulsed light and lighter emitting diode).
  • Chemical peels.
  • Microneedling.
  • Semi-permanent make-up (micro-pigmentation, micro-blading and scalpology)
  • Skin blemish removal (electrocautery and electrolysis).
  • Acupuncture.   


Hairdressers and barbers in Scotland have been allowed to reopen since Monday, 5 April 2021. 

All shops (including salons) can offer click and collect-by-appointment retail services from Monday, 5 April 2021. 

Close contact services such as beauty salons and mobile hair and beauty services can reopen.

Scotland follows a Covid-19 levels system (0-4). Each has a different set of rules on what you can and cannot do. Find out the level and rules for an area. 

A self-assessment tool is available to check the effectiveness of Covid-19 control measures in your workplace. Find out more.

Latest update from Scotland: 26 May 2021

The Scottish Government has updated its guidance for close contact services.

From 31 May 2021, clients may temporarily remove a face covering to receive a treatment to this area, as long as the practitioner is wearing the appropriate PPE. If treatments are continued elsewhere, a face covering must be immediately replaced.

Practitioners should wear a Fluid Resistant Surgical Face Mask (Type IIR mask) and a visor or goggles.    


Northern Ireland

Latest update 19 April 2021

Hair and beauty businesses in Northern Ireland (including mobile) were allowed to reopen strictly by appointment only from Friday, 23 April 2021. 

Businesses are required to collect customer details to help with the Test, Trace, Protect contact tracing programme

The Northern Ireland guidance for close contact services was updated on 21 April 2021.

The main changes are:

You must take reasonable steps to ensure that clients receiving any service wear a face covering unless they have a reasonable excuse not to do so, or it is necessary not to wear a face covering due to the nature of the service.

You should wear gloves if possible and avoid skin-to-skin contact with colleagues and clients if it is not crucial for the treatment.

You must operate on an appointment-only basis.



You may also be interested in...

Make sure you're up to date and in the know ... visit our press office for all the latest hair, beauty and barbering industry news.