3 December 2021

NHBF writes letter to Minister for Vaccines and Public Health to encourage a level playing field in the future between salon/barbershops and mobile businesses. 


Maggie Throup MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Vaccines and Public Health) 
Via email

1 December 2021

Dear Minister,


As you may be aware, the National Hair & Beauty Federation is the trade body for over 6,500 hair salons, beauty salons and barbershops across the UK. The sector overall contributes £8 billion to the UK economy every year and employs 288,000 workers, most women and young people, across the UK nations and regions. 

As you know, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings) (England) Regulations 2022 were tabled on Monday and the Government guidance for close contact services was published this morning. I recognise the need for the Government to respond to a shifting set of risks particularly with the emergence of the new Omicron variant. We are in the process of communicating the new guidance to our members and have updated our accessible FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions that are available to businesses in the sector more broadly.

However, there is one issue that I would urge you to take more into account with future updates to the regulations and guidance. 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. We appreciate that officials have sought to rectify this imbalance in the wording of the guidance which advises that home-based and mobile practitioners ‘should’ wear face coverings too, but the mood in the sector is that, while people will comply with the law, if it is not mandated, there is no firm requirement to follow the guidance. In the interests of maintaining fair competition and a level playing field for a sector that is finely balanced in its recovery, in the future any regulations should apply equally to both settings. 

We are open to further discussions with you or officials in DHSC, BEIS or Cabinet Office with regard to how this can be achieved in the drafting of the regulations. We note that the current Regulations expire on 21 December and that there may be an opportunity to update the text in the future.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely, 

Richard Lambert

NHBF Chief Executive