11 January 2022

Latest NHBF update – 11 January 2022

This week’s update covers:

  • Scottish Government: Coronavirus (COVID-19) update
  • NHBF calls for sector-specific funding to save hair & beauty businesses
  • Commercial Rents Bill
  • Response to level playing field enquiry
  • Suspension of confirmatory PCR tests
  • COVID-19 guidance

Scottish Government: Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

On 5 January 2022, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delivered a virtual statement to Parliament. She confirmed no new protective measures were being proposed. It is expected that restrictions on large gatherings, the requirement for distancing between groups of people in public indoor places, and table service in hospitality venues serving alcohol will remain in force until 17 January.

In addition, after the NHBF wrote to the Public Finance Minister in Scotland, the First Minister confirmed the allocation of a further £55 million in business support. Up to £19 million will support services such as beauticians and hairdressers.

The First Minister also outlined changes to self-isolation requirements. Anyone who tests positive, regardless of vaccination status, must still self-isolate for ten days. However, since 6 January, new cases are advised to end self-isolation if they don’t have a fever and test negative on a Lateral Flow Device on Day six and again at least 24 hours later.

In addition, triple vaccinated close contacts of those who test positive, both household and non-household, or those under the age of 18 and four months, do not need to isolate as long as they return a negative LFD test result in each day for seven consecutive days, and remain fever-free.

Changes are also being made to testing. After a positive LFD, people will no longer be asked to take a PCR test to confirm the result. Instead, anyone with a positive LFD should report the result online as soon as the test is done. This ensures that people get the advice they need as quickly as possible. After reporting their result, people should fill in the online form they will receive, so contacts can also be informed and rapidly given the correct advice.

Guidance for businesses and workplaces on reducing the risk of COVID-19 and supporting staff and customers has been updated to enable businesses to take reasonable measures to limit the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.


NHBF calls for sector-specific funding to save hair & beauty businesses

The National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) has recently run two snap polls to gain an understanding of the impact of Omicron on the hair & beauty sector over the Christmas period.

The results from the pre-Christmas period shows that respondents had 30% appointments cancelled. The full results of the snap poll survey can be found here.

Following the most recent snap poll the NHBF discovered that 84% of hair & beauty salons and barbershops experienced reduced business compared with what would normally be expected between Christmas and New Year (28-31 December 2021).

Read full statement here

Commercial Rents Bill

In April 2021, the government launched a call for evidence (across England), inviting landlords, tenants, and other interested parties to outline their experiences negotiating settlements of rent debt. The NHS responded to this. 

COVID-19 and the associated closure measures have significantly impacted the economy, particularly the personal care sector. While there is an indication that rent collection is increasing, it remains below average levels, especially in certain sectors.

The government’s intention is that, where possible, rent debt accrued as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic should not force an otherwise viable business to cease operating. Contractual commitments should be recognised as far as possible while achieving a proportionate balance between the interests of landlords and tenants.

The Bill supports the timely resolution of commercial rent debt built up by businesses required to close during the pandemic.

Read the full Q&A for personal care - commercial rents (coronavirus) bill and code of practice.

Response to level playing field letter

In December 2021, NHBF CEO Richard Lambert wrote a letter to the Minister for Vaccines and Public Health encouraging a level playing field in the future between salon/barbershops and mobile businesses.

In the letter, Richard Lambert said: “We would like to see the regulations take a consistent approach so that they apply equally to close contact services operating through salon/barbershop premises and those providing services in a home-based environment or mobile setting. The perception amongst many salons and barbershops is that they are now faced with a legal requirement and consequential penalties if they do not comply, whereas freelance and mobile practitioners have effectively been given a choice”.

In receiving the letter, Paul Scully MP responded. Read the full letter from the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets and Minister for London.

Suspension of confirmatory PCR tests

As of today (11 January) in England, people who receive a positive lateral flow test will be required to self-isolate immediately but won’t need to take a confirmatory PCR test. With COVID-19 rates so high, the government is confident that someone with a positive lateral flow result has Covid and can act on that test result without needing a PCR test too.

People who wish to apply for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment and those who receive a positive Day 2 lateral flow result after arriving in the UK will still be required to take a PCR test.

People with any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 are still strongly advised to take a PCR test, not a lateral flow test.

COVID-19 guidance – recent updated with the latest Omicron guidance

Read our four nations’ FAQs which include links to the latest government guidance that must be followed.

Members can call our membership team, Monday-Friday, 9-5, on 01234 831965. Please be patient due to the extremely high level of calls we are currently getting.

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 considerable number of calls.