Some reopening rules and guidelines for salons and barbershops vary across the four nations. Find answers to the FAQS below for:

England

Wales 

Scotland 

Northern Ireland 

    • Which businesses can open?
    • Which guidelines should be followed?
    • What PPE (personal protective equipment) must be used by staff and clients?
    • Can I work in the highest risk zone?
    • Are there special rules for spas?
    • Do I have to offer an ‘appointment-only’ system?
    • Do I have to keep a record of clients who come in for appointments?
    • What about clients who are pregnant, unwell, shielding or vulnerable?

Areas in lockdown

Rules 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: TTDHSCexternalaffairs@dhsc.gov.uk

22 September 2020: guidelines now a legal requirement

On 22 September 2020, the Prime Minister announced that the government guidelines for salons and barbershops in England are now a legal requirement. Businesses that don’t comply will be fined £10,000 and could be closed.

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.

 

England                                                         

The following businesses can open:

  • Hair and barber businesses.
  • Beauty salons, nail bars, tattoo and massage studios, physical therapy businesses and spas. 

Which guidelines should be followed? 

All close contact service providers are strongly advised to follow the government guidelines for working safely.

What PPE (personal protective equipment) must be used by staff and clients? 

These requirements have now been updated by the government.

  • Stylists, therapists and barbers should wear a clear visor or goggles and a Type II face mask. Goggles may be used as an alternative to a clear visor, when worn with a Type II face mask. Goggles provide eye protection to the wearer. To be worn in place of a clear visor, 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. ​Type II face masks are medical face masks made up of a protective three-ply construction. This PPE must be worn for all services and treatments in salons and barbershops, not just those carried out in the highest-risk zone. 
  • The Type II face mask does not need to be changed between clients but must be changed if it is removed to eat or drink, or becomes moist, damaged or difficult to breathe through.
  • Face coverings are mandatory for clients visiting nail, beauty, and hair salons; barbers; massage parlours; tattoo and piercing parlours. Individuals who don’t comply can be fined £200. Face coverings should not be removed unless essential for a particular treatment – for example, on the face area covered by the mask.
  • All staff in salons and barbershops must wear face coverings. Individuals who don’t comply can be fined £200. The requirement for staff to wear face coverings applies when they are not providing a treatment or service. When providing a treatment or service,  stylists, barbers and therapists must wear a clear visor or goggles and a Type II face mask. This PPE must be worn for all services and treatments in salons and barbershops, not just those carried out in the highest-risk zone.

If you are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service because you have been in contact with an infected person, you will still have to self-isolate even if you were wearing a Type II face mask and a visor.

Why have the guidelines for England changed?  

Visors can protect the wearer from exposure to large droplets and also protect the wearer from exposure through the eyes.  

However, the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) now says that the current evidence suggests:  

  • Visors are unlikely to protect the wearer against ‘aerosol’ transmission. These are tiny particles that can remain in the air and be breathed in.
  • Visor wearers can still pass on the virus to others via large droplets or tiny particles in the air

As a result, the government’s guidelines were strengthened to include wearing a Type II face mask in addition to a visor. (Since 11 September 2020, goggles are now allowed instead of a visor, see above.) The aim is to further protect both the wearer and others. 

 Ventilation 

The importance of good ventilation is also emphasised, particularly where several people are indoors in close proximity for periods of 30 minutes or more. Salons and barbershops should plan ahead to ensure they can provide good ventilation in the winter months while still maintaining a comfortable temperature for team members and clients.

 

Read the government’s updated guidance for close contact services. The guidance explains in detail the new requirements for England including how to put on a Type II face mask and use it safely.

PPE in educational settings

If the educational setting is in a real or realistic work environment such as a salon with clients the  close contact services guidance  applies as above. 

If it is a classroom basis Guidance for further education and skills providers and What FE colleges and providers will need to do from the start of the 2020 autumn term applies.   

If the learners are working on blocks in the same real or realistic work environment where others are providing close contact services then PPE has to be worn. 

If learners are working in a classroom (meeting effective infection protection and control) within their educational bubble as defined in the government guidance then PPE would not need to be worn.

NHBF Members can login to read further Q&As about face masks in England, including: 

Does my receptionist have to wear a Type II face mask as well as a visor?

Are there any exemptions to stylists, barbers or beauty therapists wearing a Type II face mask as well as a visor?

What action should I take regarding an employee who can’t wear a face mask for a medical reason?

What if a client is exempt from wearing a face covering?  Can I refuse to serve them?

Not yet a Member? Join us for less than 80p a day to get a wide range of benefits including access to our friendly membership team, free 24/7 legal advice, in-depth business guides and fact sheets, and valuable discounts on business essentials including insurance.

 

Areas in lockdown

This does not apply to areas in local lockdown. Please note: rules 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: TTDHSCexternalaffairs@dhsc.gov.uk

Members of the public do not need to wear a face covering if they have a legitimate reason not to. This includes (but is not limited to): 

  • Children under the age of 11 do not have to wear them.
  • Public Health England do not recommend face coverings for children under the age of three for health and safety reasons.
  • Not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability.
  • If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause the person severe distress.
  • If the person is travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.
  • To avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others.
  • To avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and the person does not have a face covering with them.
  • To eat or drink if reasonably necessary.
  • To take medication.
  • If a police officer or other official asks the person to remove their face covering. 

There are also situations when people are permitted to remove a face covering, including:

  • If asked to do so by shop staff or relevant employees for identification, the purpose of assessing health recommendations, such as a pharmacist, or for age identification purposes including when buying age restricted products such as alcohol.
  • If speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask others, either verbally or in writing, to remove a face covering to help with communication.

Find out more about face coverings on the government website.

The government guidelines also state that the most effective methods of preventing transmission of the virus are still social distancing and regular handwashing.  

Please note: 

  • The PPE requirements set out in the guidelines cannot be used for carrying out advanced beauty practices and aesthetics treatments which require medical grade PPE.  

Can I work in the highest risk zone? 

Close contact services in the highest risk zone can now be offered in England. The highest risk zone is the area in front of the face where splashes and droplets from the nose and mouth may be present. See above for guidance on the PPE that must be worn for all services and treatments provided by stylists, barbers and beauty therapists.

Are there special rules for spas? 

Saunas and steam rooms can now open in England (from 1 October 2020). Spas operating saunas, steam rooms, gyms, hot tubs, spa pools, whirlpools, hydrotherapy or swimming pools must follow government guidance for gym/leisure facilities. 

Do I have to offer an ‘appointment-only’ system? 

The guidelines state that 'operating an appointment-only system' is one of the steps that 'will usually be needed'. The guidelines also refer to businesses maintaining 'scheduled' appointments.

This approach helps to control the number of people in your salon/barbershop at any one time and to maintain a strict cleaning schedule between clients. 

The NHBF recommends asking clients to book appointments on the phone, online or via text - and not to visit your premises to do so. Consider moving to a 'one in, one out' policy.

Ask your clients to attend on their own if possible.  

NHBF Members can download our client health check questionnaire 

Are appointment-only systems compulsory? 

The guidance itself is not legally binding. However, the requirements and suggestions within it would be taken into account by your local authority and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) when deciding if you have complied with health & safety law.  

Do I have to keep a record of clients who come in for appointments?  

From 18 September 2020, salons and barbershops in England will be required by law to keep a temporary record of clients and visitors for 21 days and assist NHS ‘Test and Trace’ with requests for contact information if needed. Find out more on the government website.

You must register for an official NHS QR code and display the official NHS QR poster from 24 September 2020.

The NHS COVID-19 app has a feature that allows users to quickly and easily ‘check in’ to your venue by scanning the code. The information stays on the user’s phone. In England, you do not have to ask people who choose to ‘check in’ using the official NHS QR code to provide their contact details. If there is an outbreak associated with a venue, a message will be sent to the relevant app users with the necessary public health advice. Find out more about this on the government website.

When collecting and storing data you will need to comply with strict data protection regulations. Find out more. 

What about clients who are pregnant, unwell, shielding or vulnerable? 

Clients who feel unwell must stay at home. If they have made an appointment explain that you will not be imposing any financial penalties for cancellation and will rebook as soon as they are well and not self-isolating.  

The NHS lists the symptoms of coronavirus

NHBF Members can download our client health check questionnaire.  

Until 1 August 2020 clinically extremely vulnerable people should continue to shield. 

If a client meets the definition of someone who is clinically vulnerable, you must use your professional judgement to decide whether the benefit of treatment is likely to outweigh any potential risk. If you decide that treatment is appropriate, the client must seek permission from their GP, midwife or consultant before having a treatment. 

People at moderate risk from coronavirus, for example those over 70 or who are pregnant, are able to go out but should stay home as much as possible. You may decide as part of your risk assessment to postpone appointments with these clients for their protection. 

Wales

UPDATE: 19 OCTOBER 2020

A two-week ‘fire break’ period will start in Wales at 6pm on Friday, 23 October 2020 and be in place until the start of Monday, 9 November 2020. 

Close contact services including salons and barbershops must close. Mobile hairdressers and therapists must not operate during this period. 

The Welsh Government has published FAQs about the fire break.

 

Which guidelines should be followed? 

The Welsh Government updated its guidelines on 20 August 2020. The full guidelines can be found on the Welsh Goverment website.

Can I work in the highest risk zone? 

The updated guidelines reinforce the Welsh Government's strong advice that:

"...you do not undertake face-to-face high-risk treatments on the basis that it is extremely difficult to carry out these treatments safely without the appropriate grade PPE."

Public Health Wales recommends that businesses do not provide these treatments unless they:

  • Can access the correct PPE. This could include a fluid-resistant surgical face mask (FRSM), suitable eye protection (goggles or full-face visor) and disposable gloves and apron.
  • Have sufficient training in putting the PPE on and taking if off (donning and doffing).
  • Have training on standard infection control precautions. 

Section 5.1 of the guidelines provides links to information about the use of PPE including how to put it on and take it off. 

These ‘high risk zone’ treatments include but are not limited to:

  • Face waxing, sugaring or threading services.
  • Facial treatments (manual).
  • Advanced facial technical (electrical or mechanical).
  • Eyelash treatments.
  • Make-up application.
  • Dermarolling and dermaplaning.
  • Microblading.
  • Electrical epilation on the face.
  • 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 (ie micro-pigmentation, micro-blading and scalpology).
  • Skin blemish removal (electrocautery and electrolysis).
  • Electrical epilation.
  • Acupuncture.

Which treatments or services can I provide? 

The new guidelines say:

Providing the practitioner is wearing a Type II mask and clear visor which covers the forehead, extends below the chin, and wraps around the side of the face, all treatments and services can be provided safely on: the head; the front of the body (on the chest and below); the side of the body (from the neck down), and on all parts of the back of the body under the current government guidelines for safe working in close contact services.

These 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 in front of the face where respiratory aerosols and droplets from the nose and mouth caused by breathing, speaking, coughing or sneezing can be present and pose a hazard from the client to the practitioner and vice versa.

Are there special rules for spas? 

Spas operating gyms, hot tubs, spa pools, whirlpools, hydrotherapy, and swimming pools must follow Welsh Government guidance for gym/leisure facilities.

Saunas and steam rooms should remain closed.

What PPE (personal protective equipment) must be used? 

The new guidelines state:

Staff should wear a Type II mask and clear visor that covers the forehead, extends below the chin and wraps around the face.  

This is in addition to the PPE you normally wear when carrying out treatments, for example gloves or aprons.  

The government guidelines also state that the most effective methods of preventing transmission of the virus are still social distancing and regular handwashing.  

The Welsh Government has made it a legal requirement (from 14 September 2020) for face coverings to be worn by clients and staff in all indoor public places, including salons and barbershops. Find out more on the Welsh Government website.

PPE in educational settings:  

If the educational setting is in a real or realistic work environment such as a salon with clients the Welsh guidelines for close contact services apply.  

If the learners are working on blocks in the same real or realistic work environment where others are providing close contact services then PPE as set out in the Welsh guidelines must be worn.  

If learners are working in a classroom (meeting effective infection protection and control) within their educational bubble as defined in the Welsh government guidance for Educational settings then PPE would not need to be worn. 

Do I have to offer an ‘appointment-only’ system? 

In Wales, salons and barbershops must operate on a strict appointment-only basis.

Do I have to keep a record of clients who come in for appointments? 

The guidance for Wales states that you should ask clients for each client’s contact details on the day of their appointment to help with the government’s ‘Test, Trace, Protect’ service. This is covered in section 6.1 of the new guidelines.

Find more details about this on the Welsh Government’s website. 

What about clients who are pregnant, unwell, shielding or vulnerable? 

Clients who feel unwell must stay at home. If they have made an appointment explain that you will not be imposing any financial penalties for cancellation and will rebook as soon as they are well and not self-isolating.  

The NHS lists the symptoms of coronavirus

NHBF Members can download our client health check questionnaire.  

Until 16 August 2020 clinically extremely vulnerable people should continue to shield. 

If a client meets the definition of someone who is clinically vulnerable, you must use your professional judgement to decide whether the benefit of treatment is likely to outweigh any potential risk. If you decide that treatment is appropriate, the client must seek permission from their GP, midwife or consultant before having a treatment. 

People at moderate risk from coronavirus, for example those over 70 or who are pregnant, are able to go out but should stay home as much as possible. You may decide as part of your risk assessment to postpone appointments with these clients for their protection. 

Scotland 

  • Hair and barber businesses can open.
  • Beauty businesses can open (but not mobile beauty businesses until further notice).

Which guidelines should be followed? 

The guidelines for Scotland can be found here. The Scottish government has also published an additional checklist for close-contact businesses in Scotland.  

Specific guidance for beauty businesses in Scotland has not yet been published. 

Can I work in the highest risk zone? 

The highest risk zone is 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 Scottish government’s additional checklist states: 

Specific consideration should be given to employees/operators working in the ‘breathing zone’ or ‘high risk zone’ of the customer. Minimise time being spent in the high-risk zone. If you are not able to minimise time in the high risk zone these treatments should not be offered. Implement additional measures or procedures to mitigate against the heightened risk. 

Which treatments or services can I provide? 

The Scottish government has not provided a list of treatments that can or cannot be provided but has said it is for individual businesses to interpret the guidance and assess the risks to ensure the protection of their clients and staff. 

The Scottish Government’s retail sector guidance states the following

Services offered in the ‘high risk zone’ 

The ‘high risk zone’ is defined as ‘the area in front of the face where splashes and droplets from the nose and mouth may be present, which can pose a hazard’. If treatments in the high risk zone cannot be carried out without the ability to be provided from the side of the face or behind the head and therefore require prolonged periods in the highest risk zone then they should not be offered in this phase of the Scottish Government’s Route Map 

Treatments that required removal of a client's face covering should not be carried out. Additional guidance for Scotland can be found on the Scottish Government website. This includes details about treatments in the high-risk zone.

Good practice 

Consideration should be given to what is a safe practice. Practitioners should assess their practice for all therapy treatments they deliver to ensure they only provide safe services. 

Practitioners should seek to avoid skin-to-skin contact with colleagues and client if it is not crucial for the treatment. Gloves provide a barrier where there is anticipated contact with blood or body fluids and should continue to be used for any treatments where this is a risk. However over-use of gloves leads to contamination of both the users gloves and the surrounding environment. Frequent hand decontamination is very important. Alcohol-based hand rub should be used regularly where hand washing cannot occur. 

Good practice involves the practitioner continually moving from side to side or from the back avoiding the high-risk zone, inactive periods, and keeping the activity time involved as short as possible. 

The NHBF stresses that if salons, barbershops or individual staff do not feel comfortable doing certain treatments, they absolutely do not have to offer them. 

Are there special rules for spas? 

Spas are to remain closed in Scotland until further notice. 

What PPE (personal protective equipment) must be used? 

We are currently checking with the Scottish Government if it has any plans to amend its PPE requirements. 

Currently:

In Scotland, face coverings are mandatory (must be worn) by clients and staff.

The list of exemptions does not include the removal of face coverings from the nose and mouth area for hair services or beauty treatments.

Staff should wear a visor in addition to a face covering. Visors are recommended (see below) but face masks are mandatory. Clients are also required to wear a face covering.  

Team members should wear a clear visor that covers the forehead, extends below the chin and wraps around the face.  

The visor is in addition to the PPE you normally wear when carrying out treatments, for example gloves or aprons.  

The government guidelines also state that the most effective methods of preventing transmission of the virus are still social distancing and regular handwashing.  

There are exemptions to the requirement to wear face coverings in Scotland, which include:

  • Children under five.
  • People with health conditions who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of any physical or mental illness or impairment or disability or without severe distress.
  • If people need to take medication or to eat or drink where reasonably necessary.
  • Temporary removal to comply with a request by a relevant person or another person acting in the course of their duties.
  • For clients with a hearing impairment and those who lip-read, and remove the face coverings, as necessary, to provide advice. information or assistance.
  • For age-related sales clients are asked to ensure that they remove face coverings in accordance with requests from staff.

Staff only

  • Those mainly based in non-customer facing areas, such as stock-rooms

  • In customer-facing areas where 2m physical distancing can be maintained or if there is a partition such as a perspex screen between clients and staff.
  • Outside opening hours.

Detailed information about the required PPE can be found on the Scottish Government website.

PPE in educational settings  

If the educational setting is in a real or realistic work environment such as a salon with clients the Scottish guidelines for close contact services apply.  

If the learners are working on blocks in the same real or realistic work environment where others are providing close contact services then PPE as set out in the Scottish guidelines must be worn.  

If learners are working in a classroom (meeting effective infection protection and control) within their educational bubble as defined in the Scottish government guidance for Educational settings then PPE would not need to be worn.

Do I have to offer an ‘appointment-only’ system? 

The England guidelines (which Scottish businesses must follow) state that 'operating an appointment-only system' is one of the steps that 'will usually be needed'. The guidelines also refer to businesses maintaining 'scheduled' appointments. 

The additional checklist for Scotland states that salons and barbershops should put  up a sign that ‘confirms bookings should be by appointment only’. The checklist also says that the timings of appointments should be staggered to minimise overlaps and unnecessary waiting. 

Do I have to keep a record of clients who come in for appointments? 

Salons and barbershops are being asked to gather ‘minimal contact details’ from clients to support the Scotland’s ‘Test and Protect’ service. 

This requirement is explained in more detail on the Scottish Government’s website

Find out more about Test and Protect. 

What about clients who are pregnant, unwell, shielding or vulnerable? 

Clients who feel unwell must stay at home. If they have made an appointment explain that you will not be imposing any financial penalties for cancellation and will rebook as soon as they are well and not self-isolating.  

The NHS lists the symptoms of coronavirus

NHBF Members can download our client health check questionnaire.  

Until 1 August 2020 clinically extremely vulnerable people should continue to shield. 

If a client meets the definition of someone who is clinically vulnerable, you must use your professional judgement to decide whether the benefit of treatment is likely to outweigh any potential risk. If you decide that treatment is appropriate, the client must seek permission from their GP, midwife or consultant before having a treatment. 

People at moderate risk from coronavirus, for example those over 70 or who are pregnant, are able to go out but should stay home as much as possible. You may decide as part of your risk assessment to postpone appointments with these clients for their protection.

Northern Ireland

UPDATE: 14 OCTOBER 2020

The Northern Ireland Executive has announced new restrictions to help fight the rise in coronavirus cases.  From Friday, 16 October 2020:

Close contact services such as hairdressers and beauty therapists are not permitted to open for four weeks, apart from those relating to the continuation of essential health interventions and therapeutics.
This includes mobile hairdressers, beauty therapists and make-up artists who are not allowed to work in clients’ homes. Find out more about the new restrictions.

 

Which guidelines should be followed? 

Update 29 September: guidelines have been published for Northern Ireland. (Previously, Northern Ireland had to use the England guidelines.)

What PPE (personal protective equipment) must be used? 

  • Stylists, therapists and barbers should wear a clear visor or goggles and a Type II face mask. Goggles may be used as an alternative to a clear visor, when worn with a Type II face mask. Goggles provide eye protection to the wearer. To be worn in place of a clear visor, 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. ​Type II face masks are medical face masks made up of a protective three-ply construction. This PPE must be worn for all services and treatments in salons and barbershops, not just those carried out in the highest-risk zone. 
  • The Type II face mask does not need to be changed between clients but must be changed if it is removed to eat or drink, or becomes moist, damaged or difficult to breathe through.

PPE in educational settings:   

If the educational setting is in a real or realistic work environment such as a salon with clients the guidelines for close contact services apply.  

If the learners are working on blocks in the same real or realistic work environment where others are providing close contact services then PPE as set out in the guidelines must be worn.  

If learners are working in a classroom (meeting effective infection protection and control) within their educational bubble as defined in the Northern Ireland government guidance for Educational settings then PPE would not need to be worn. 

Areas in lockdown

This does not apply to areas in local lockdown. Please note: rules 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: TTDHSCexternalaffairs@dhsc.gov.uk

From 8 August, face coverings are mandatory for clients visiting: nail, beauty, hair salons and barbers; massage therapists; tattoo and piercing parlours. Face coverings should not be removed unless essential for a particular treatment – for example, for a treatment on the face area covered by the mask.

There are exemptions to the requirement to wear face coverings:

You don’t have to wear a face covering:

  • If you are under the age of 13.
  • If you are a member of staff or employee of the shop or shopping centre.
  • Temporarily, if a member of staff or employee or a police officer asks you to remove it to check your identity.
  • If you have a reasonable excuse not to.

An employee of a shop or shopping centre can tell a member of the public to wear a face covering, and can tell someone to leave the shop or shopping centre if they refuse to wear one and do not have a reasonable excuse not to.

Some circumstances make it difficult for some people to wear face coverings.  In these circumstances people may have a 'reasonable excuse' not to wear a face covering in a shop or shopping centre.

These reasonable excuses include:

  • If you need to seek medical assistance or to provide care to someone who needs assistance, such as a vulnerable person or in an emergency.
  • If you need to avoid injury, illness or escape from harm.
  • If you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering.
  • If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress.
  • If you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.
  • If you need to remove it to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
  • If you need to eat, drink, or take medication.
  • If you are asked to remove your face covering by a police officer or other official.

There is no need to get a letter from a doctor or the government to show that you do not need to wear a face covering. 

The government guidelines also state that the most effective methods of preventing transmission of the virus are still social distancing and regular handwashing.  

Detailed information about the required PPE can be found in section six of the guidelines.

Can I work in the highest risk zone? 

The Northern Ireland guidelines state that close contact services which require workers to be within the ‘highest risk zone’ of clients (defined as the area in front of the face where splashes and droplets from the nose and mouth, that may not be visible, can be present and pose a hazard from the client to the practitioner and vice versa), for the entire duration or the majority of the time the service is being provided, should not be resumed unless mitigating actions can be introduced in line with this guidance to make them safe.

Are there special rules for spas? 

Spas are open in Northern Ireland, including saunas and steam rooms.

Do I have to offer an ‘appointment-only’ system? 

The guidelines state that an appointment-only system is recommended and walk-in appointments should be avoided. 

This approach helps to control the number of people in your salon/barbershop at any one time and to maintain a strict cleaning schedule between clients. 

The NHBF recommends asking clients to book appointments on the phone, online or via text - and not to visit your premises to do so. Consider moving to a 'one in, one out' policy.

Ask your clients to attend on their own if possible.  

NHBF Members can download our client health check questionnaire 

Are appointment-only systems compulsory? 

The guidance itself is not legally binding. However, the requirements and suggestions within it would be taken into account by your local authority and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) when deciding if you have complied with health & safety law.  

Do I have to keep a record of clients who come in for appointments? 

Contact tracing is being carried out in Northern Ireland. You can find out more on the Public Health Agency website. You should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of your clients and visitors for 21 days in a way that is manageable for your business.

What about clients who are pregnant, unwell, shielding or vulnerable? 

Clients who feel unwell must stay at home. If they have made an appointment explain that you will not be imposing any financial penalties for cancellation and will rebook as soon as they are well and not self-isolating.  

The NHS lists the symptoms of coronavirus

NHBF Members can download our client health check questionnaire.  

Until 1 August 2020 clinically extremely vulnerable people should continue to shield. 

If a client meets the definition of someone who is clinically vulnerable, you must use your professional judgement to decide whether the benefit of treatment is likely to outweigh any potential risk. If you decide that treatment is appropriate, the client must seek permission from their GP, midwife or consultant before having a treatment. 

People at moderate risk from coronavirus, for example those over 70 or who are pregnant, are able to go out but should stay home as much as possible. You may decide as part of your risk assessment to postpone appointments with these clients for their protection. 

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