This guidance is for England only.
In England only, government guidance on visors and goggles has changed.
The law does NOT say that you have to wear a visor or goggles while carrying out close contact services.
- Why should I still wear a visor or goggles?
- Can I still require my staff to wear a visor or goggles?
- Can I be prosecuted or fined if my staff do not wear visors or goggles?
- Why has the wording in the guidance and the law changed?
- Why could I be fined for not wearing a visor or goggles if the law doesn't say they are mandatory?
- Do clients still have to wear a face covering?
- Important: enforcement officers in several local authorities are continuing to enforce the use of visors or goggles and will take action against you if you are not using them. Like us, they do not believe the risks from coronavirus can be managed without them.
Find your local authority so you can check what their policy is.
- If you have a case of COVID-19 in your salon, the decision not to use visors or goggles could be used as evidence that you were not managing health and safety correctly.
- If you choose not to use a visors or goggles, you could still be expected to explain your decision to an enforcement officer.
- The level of risk from coronavirus has not changed, and the use of visors or goggles is still required to manage those risks.
- The law and guidance have changed from:
“You must use visors/goggles to manage the risks from COVID”
“You must do what is necessary to manage the risks from COVID.”
This does not change the controls you must have in place.
Yes. Your legal duties to manage health and safety have not changed and you will still need to enforce the use of appropriate personal protective equipment. Your staff must comply with the health & safety rules that you set out.
Yes. You can still face enforcement action. You are still responsible for managing health and safety in your salon or barbershop, and for putting in place appropriate control measures.
The level of risk from coronavirus has not changed, and you would have to give the enforcing authorities a satisfactory reason for why you are not using them.
We believe this change has been made to prepare for when the level of risk from coronavirus starts to decrease.
Salons and barbershops have been given the freedom to manage the risk and to decide when visors or goggles are no longer necessary. Health and safety law is not usually prescriptive (imposing strict rules), and this is in line with how other health and safety risks are managed.
There is a difference between “the law” and “Government guidance”. Laws are often written in quite broad terms – so, for example, you have a “duty of care” towards your employees and clients under health and safety legislation.
Guidance explains the Government’s recommendation for the best way to comply with the law in specific circumstances. You aren’t obliged to follow the guidance – it’s advice, not an instruction.
However, if you don’t, you could be asked to explain to an enforcement officer – or even a court - why you have chosen a different approach and why your approach is just as effective as the recommendations in the guidance in complying with the law. It would be up to you to prove this to them. If they don’t accept your explanation, they will find you in breach of the law, and you can expect to be prosecuted and fined as a result.
Environmental health and trading standards officers are allowed to interpret guidance in the way that they think best for their local circumstances. This is why some local authorities take a stricter or more lenient view that others.
Yes, the law says that members of the public must wear face coverings in public places. The guidance for England says that clients must not remove their face covering unless this is essential for a particular treatment. Find out more on the government website.
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