21 August 2020

This update covers:

  • Welsh guidelines updated.
  • NHBF launches campaign to help prevent more lockdowns.
  • Instagram Live playback.
  • Reasons for change in PPE requirement in England.
  • Government guidance on employment rights when self-isolating after returning to the UK.

Welsh guidelines updated

The Welsh Government have now updated and combined their guidance for all close contact services.

The guidance applies to the following:

  • Hairdressers and barbers
  • Beauty therapists
  • Beauty advanced practices treatment practitioners
  • Make-up artists
  • Nail service technicians
  • Aesthetics, holistic, wellbeing and other practitioners
  • Acupuncture and electrocautery practitioners
  • Massage therapists including sports and clinical massage therapists

Some of the changes to the guidelines include:

  • For treatments/services that are not within the high risk zone they are advising all close contact practitioners to wear a Type II mask plus a clear visor as a minimum (practitioners are welcome to use FRSM masks plus goggles or a visor as required for high risk treatments).
  • For high risk treatments, the Welsh Government is still advising that practitioners should not undertake these unless they wear an FRSM mask plus suitable eyewear (goggles or clear visor), disposable gloves and an apron. They should also have been trained in the use of PPE and received training in the control of infectious diseases.
  • The guidance also sets out the enforcement measures Environmental Health Officers can take should businesses fail to comply with their duties under the Welsh Regulations.

We will be updating our FAQs shortly to reflect these changes. See below for information about why face masks have been introduced as well as visors.

NHBF launches its #DoItRight campaign to help prevent more lockdowns

The NHBF has launched #DoItRight, a campaign to ensure hair and beauty professionals across the UK understand what they must do to work safely and reduce the risk of further restrictions or lockdowns.

Hilary Hall, chief executive of the NHBF says: “We have worked hard to ensure hair and beauty salons, barbershops and individual professionals can get back to work but because some are failing to follow the guidelines, they are putting the whole industry at risk.

“We’ve launched our #DoItRight campaign to help hair and beauty businesses across the UK understand the guidelines that apply in their part of the country. The last thing any of us want is to face further restrictions, further lockdowns or a second spike in coronavirus infections. The impact on our industry would be devastating.  Please do your bit to help and show you’re putting the industry first as well as protecting the safety of your teams and your clients.”

Requirements across the four nations in the UK are set out in our regularly updated blog post.

Instagram Live playback.

This morning CEO Hilary Hall hosted an Instagram Live on the NHBF Instagram account @nhbfsocial to go through the latest changes to the guidelines and a round up across the nations.  It included:

•         Why has the change to wearing face masks been made in England?

•         What’s happening in Wales, Scotland and N Ireland on face masks?

•         What about people who can’t or won’t wear a face mask?

•         What are the key points of the guidelines for each of the four nations?

•         Why is it important to follow them?

 The live is saved on the @nhbfsocial IGTV here.

Why have PPE requirements for stylists, therapists and barbers changed in England?

Stylists, therapists and barbers are now required to wear a clear visor and a Type II face mask. 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. (Northern Ireland also follow the England guidelines.)

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. The aim is to further protect both the wearer and others.


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 in England.

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

Type II face masks should be worn unless they have an exceptional reason ‘where putting on, wearing or removing a face mask will cause severe distress’.

Employees have a duty to take care of themselves and others who may be affected by their actions or failure to take action and to follow the requirements set by their employer. 

Refusal to wear a face mask without a valid reason, such as a medical condition, could be a disciplinary matter. You should call the NHBF legal helpline for advice.

Can I ask an employee for proof of a medical reason why they can’t wear a mask

You can ask an employee to provide a note from their GP to confirm they should be exempt from wearing a mask. However, it is in the employee’s best interests to wear a mask as this is for their protection. You could suggest the employee tries different kinds of masks out or tries wearing a mask for short periods to help them get used to wearing one.

Could goggles be worn instead of a visor?

Currently Wales is the only nation to introduce the option of goggles for specific treatments in the high risk zone.  Their guidelines can be found here. We have asked the other three nations whether face masks plus goggles could be considered as a suitable alternative to face masks plus face visors.  Many Members have highlighted the difficulties with wearing face masks plus visors and welfare of their staff.

We have made a strong case and are now waiting to hear from the other nations.

Can clients in Scotland remove their face covering for treatments?

Face coverings are mandatory in Scotland for both staff and customers in retail environments, which includes the hair and beauty sector. The list of exemptions does not include the removal of face coverings from the nose and mouth area for hair services or beauty treatments. For a full list of the current exemptions click here.

A Scottish government official confirmed that Health Protection Scotland have recommended against the removal of face coverings in close contact settings for treatments (or any other activities that require a face covering).

Requirements across the four nations in the UK are set out in our regularly updated blog post.

Who should I report a business to who isn’t complying with the guidelines?

Anyone who has concern about a business not following the correct guidelines should call their local authority or Trading Standards. You can find your local authority here.

Employment rights when self-isolating on return to the UK

People travelling back from certain countries must self-isolate in the UK for 14 days. The government has published guidelines for employers and employees who may be affected. Find out more. NHBF Members can call our free 24/7 legal helpline for advice.

See all updates

For legal advice, Members can login to get our 24/7 legal helpline number. Again, please be patient. The legal team is also dealing with a huge number of calls.