Coronavirus Business Support

Opening close contact services safely (Beauty, tattoo, nail bars etc)

The following services (including mobile) may open from the 13th July 2020.  These services must follow social distancing measures wherever possible:

  • Beauty and nail bars
  • Makeup and tattoo studios
  • Tanning salons and booths
  • Spas and wellness businesses
  • Sports and massage therapy
  • Wellbeing and holistic locations
  • Dress fitters
  • Tailors and fashion designers

Updated: 14th August 2020

In the phased reopening of businesses, beauty and nail bars, makeup and tattoo studios, tanning salons/booths, spas and wellness businesses, sports and massage therapy, wellbeing and holistic locations, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers were allowed to reopen from 13th July 2020 (with the exception of treatments in the highest risk zone i.e. the face). There have been various changes to guidance since then. The following information has been changed in line with amendments as of 13th August and we urge all businesses to reread all of the guidance to ensure they are adhering to the most up to date requirements. The most significant changes are as follows, with more information on each in the relevant sections below:

  1. All services, including those in the highest risk zone (close contact, including treatments to the face), can restart from 15 August 2020.
  2. Practitioners must now wear visors AND type 2 face masks.
  3. Clients must wear face coverings.
  4. Barriers are required between clients IF two meters distance cannot be observed between clients.                                                                                                       

All of these services must follow social distancing measures wherever possible.

The government has amended the coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance to make clear that people providing close contact services can reopen safely while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19. This guidance provides important public health information to ensure that people delivering services can do so safely by ensuring as many people as possible comply with social distancing guidelines

(2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable).

This guidance does not replace any legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equalities and it is important that as a business or an employer you continue to comply with existing obligations, including those relating to individuals with protected characteristics. When considering how to apply this guidance, you should take into account agency workers, contractors and other people, as well as your employees.

Advice to industry

All businesses should follow the government’s latest guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus and safer working guidance.

As well as government guidance, we encourage all professionals to speak to their representative bodies and familiarise themselves with guidance prepared for their specific sectors.

It is important that all businesses work together to ensure we stay alert and safe to minimise the spread of infection and we expect all sectors to consider how they can operate in a way which minimise the need for face to face contact.

Test and Tracing

The opening up of the economy following the covid-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace.

You should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of your clients and visitors for 21 days (this reflects the incubation period for covid-19, which can be up to 14 days, and an additional 7 days to allow time for testing and tracing), in a way that is manageable for your business, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed.

If you already have a system for taking bookings, this could be used as a record of your clients, however please note the following:


  • the names of staff who work at the premises - If a customer will interact with only one member of staff (e.g. a hairdresser), the name of the assigned staff member should be recorded alongside the name of the customer.
  • a contact phone number for each member of staff
  • the dates and times that staff are at work

Customers and visitors-

  • the name of the customer or visitor. If there is more than one person, then you can record the name of the ‘lead member’ of the group and the number of people in the group
  • a contact phone number for each customer or visitor, or for the lead member of a group of people
  • date of visit, arrival time and, where possible, departure time

In instances where you are contacted via the test and trace service, having been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will still need to self-isolate even if you are wearing a visor at work. This is because the risk of transmission cannot be ruled out, even if wearing a visor and mask reduces that risk.

If information is not collected in advance, this should be collected at the point that visitors enter the premises, or at the point of service if impractical to do so at the entrance. 

You should also assist the test and trace service by keeping a temporary record of your staff shift patterns for 21 days and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.

After 21 days, this information should be securely disposed of or deleted. When deleting or disposing of data, you must do so in a way that does not risk unintended access (e.g. shredding paper documents and ensuring permanent deletion of electronic files).

All collected data, however, must comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and should not be kept for longer than is necessary.

Risk assessment

To help you decide which actions to take, you must carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment Checklist available for download here - just as you would for other health and safety related hazards. Please make every effort to ensure the risk assessment is completed and regularly updated in line with any changes.

  • Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, in relation to a particular activity, you should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between your staff.
  • Clearly, when providing close contact services, it often may not be possible to maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m apart with risk mitigation, is acceptable). As a result, personal protective equipment in the form of a visor will be required to mitigate the risk.

Further information is available at

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Close contact services tend to work in close proximity to their clients, usually for extended periods of time, which creates challenges when trying to maintain social distancing. An extended period of time refers to the majority of the working day, irrespective of the number of clients served during the day. The person providing a service, should therefore wear further protection.

Originally, government guidance was to wear a visor, however as of 13th August 2020, visors AND Type II masks must be worn (not cloth face coverings).

Visors should cover the forehead, extend below the chin, and wrap around the side of the face and must fit the user properly to provide a barrier between the practitioner and the client from respiratory droplets caused by sneezing, coughing or speaking, in addition to the type II mask.

Below is some information on type II face masks as stipulated on the National Hair and Beauty Federation website available here :

Medical face masks are classified into two types: Type I and Type II according to their Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE). The BFE determines the amount of infective agent retained by the facemask and therefore directly relates to the amount of bacteria released through the mask and into the environment.

Type II masks are further divided according to their Splash Resistance Pressure which determines the mask’s resistance level to potentially contaminated fluid splashes.

A Type IIR mask is splash resistant, the letter ‘R’ signifies splash resistance.

A Type II mask is not splash resistant.

Splash resistance is required in clinical settings to protect the wearer against splashes of blood or bodily fluids.

Disposable and re-usable visors are available to purchase, however re-usable visors must be cleaned and sanitised regularly using normal cleaning products.

Another amendment to the guidance as of 13th August 2020 is that Clients must now wear masks when inside all close contact settings. These can be removed if work around the bottom of the face and ear are needed, however they must be replaced at the earliest opportunity.

A screen should be used by practitioners working with clients’ hands (e.g. nail bars).

Unless crucial for the treatment, avoid skin to skin contact and use gloves where possible.

Remember, the most effective methods of preventing the transmission of COVID-19 are still social distancing and regular handwashing. These steps must still be followed as much as possible, even when practitioners are wearing protective equipment.

Keeping clients and visitors safe

The updated guidance as of 13th August requires installation of screens between clients IF two meters cannot be observed between clients. This will depend on the size of the premises and whether there is enough space to distance chairs 2 meters apart or not.

A further important update is that clients MUST use hand sanitiser or use handwashing facilities as soon as they enter the premises or before treatment.

In line with government guidance, medical advice and the test and trace service, members of staff or family members of the same household displaying symptoms should stay home.

You should refrain from playing music or broadcasts at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult and that may encourage shouting. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission, particularly from aerosol transmission.

Calculate the maximum number of clients that can reasonably follow social distancing guidelines in the premises (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable) and limiting the number of appointments at any one time.

Operate an appointment only system and ensure these are staggered to reduce overlap and unplanned gatherings within the premises. Also ask clients to attend on their own, where possible and encourage them to arrive at the time of their scheduled appointment.

COVID-19 related screening questions to be asked of clients ahead of their appointment, include:

  • Have you had the recent onset of a new continuous cough?
  • Do you have a high temperature?
  • Have you noticed a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell?
  • If the client has any of these symptoms, however mild, they should stay at home and reschedule their appointment.

Inform clients and contractors of latest guidelines about visiting the premises prior to and at the point of arrival, including information on websites, on booking forms and in entrance ways. It should be made clear to clients that failure to observe safety measures will result in services not being provided.

Ensure information is visible throughout the entire premises for you and clients to refer to. Also consider the particular needs of those with protected characteristics, such as those who are hearing or visually impaired.

Make clients aware of, and encourage compliance with, limits on gatherings e.g. on arrival or at booking. Indoor gatherings are limited to members of any two households (or support bubbles), while outdoor gatherings are limited to members of any two households (or support bubbles), or a group of at most six people from any number of households.

Maintain social distancing in waiting areas when clients wait for their appointments. It is advisable that when waiting areas can no longer maintain social distancing, consider moving to a ‘one-in-one-out’ policy.

Adjust how people move through the premises to reduce congestion and contact between clients, for example, queue management or one-way flow. This may only be possible in larger establishments.

Review working practices to minimise the duration of contact with clients, and where you provide extended treatments, such as braiding, consider how the length of the appointment could be minimised.

You should consider providing shorter, more basic treatments to keep the time to a minimum, or offering alternative treatments including tutorials to clients where services/ treatments cannot be provided.

Ensure any changes to entrances, exits and queue management take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, including disabled clients e.g. maintaining pedestrian and parking access for disabled clients.

Minimise contact between different workers whilst serving a client.

The use of changing rooms should be discouraged wherever possible - clients should be advised to change and shower at home.

In terms of opening times – you may only want to operate at reduced hours to enable time between clients to carefully clean all areas before the next client and reduce contact times.

Client toilets

To enable good hand hygiene in those premises which offer toilet facilities for clients, hand sanitiser should be made available on entry to toilets, where safe and practical. Provide suitable handwashing facilities which include running water and liquid soap, in addition to suitable options for drying hands i.e. paper towels or hand driers.

Ensure that toilet facilities are regularly cleaned in line with usage frequency, using normal cleaning products paying particular attention to hand contact points and consider use of disposable cloths or paper roll to clean all hard surfaces. Keep the facilities well ventilated e.g. opening windows and fixing doors open where appropriate to do so.

Consider the use of social distancing marking in areas where queues normally form, and the adoption of a limited entry approach, with one in, one out.

You might also have to consider providing more waste facilities and more frequent waste collections.

Protecting people who are at higher risk


Clinically vulnerable individuals should be offered the option of the safest available on-site roles, enabling them to maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable). If they cannot maintain social distancing, you should carefully assess whether this involves an acceptable level of risk. You must take into account specific duties to those with protected characteristics, including, for example, expectant mothers. Particular attention should also be paid to people who live with clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.

Consider whether you need to put in place any particular measures or adjustments to take account of your duties under the equalities legislation and make reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage.

Stagger arrival and departure times at work to reduce crowding into and out of the workplace, whilst taking account of the impact on those with protected characteristics.

Maintain an awareness and focus on the importance of mental health at times of uncertainty.

Ensure that the steps you take do not have an unjustifiable negative impact on some groups compared to others, for example those with caring responsibilities or those with religious commitments.

Social distancing and other considerations for staff

  • Staff should be encouraged to increase the frequency of handwashing and cleaning.
  • Keep activity times with clients as short as possible.
  • Use back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face to-face) whenever possible.
  • Operate a consistent pairing system if workers have to be in close proximity.
  • Workstations should be assigned to an individual as much as possible. If they need to be shared, they should be shared by the smallest possible number of people.
  • Minimise how frequently equipment is shared between workers, frequently cleaning between uses and assigning to an individual where possible.
  • Use disposable items where possible e.g. nail files and ensure non-disposable items are cleaned between clients.

Common areas

Stagger break times to reduce pressure on the staff break rooms or places to eat and ensure social distancing is maintained in staff break rooms.

Encourage workers to bring their own food and drinks. No food or drink to be consumed in the salon by clients other than water in disposable cups or bottles.

Reconfigure seating and tables, such as in waiting areas, to optimise spacing and reduce face-to-face interactions.

Moving around salons, premises and other people’s homes

Install screens to create a physical barrier between workstations, where this is practical. This will not be required between the practitioner and client when the practitioner is wearing a visor.

Please note: there is no requirement for the client to wear any additional protection such as a mask or face covering, when the practitioner is wearing a visor.

Provide floor markings and signage to remind both workers and clients to maintain social distancing wherever possible.

Review layouts and processes to maintain social distancing (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable) between clients being served simultaneously, ensuring there is sufficient spacing between client chairs, for example, closing off alternate chairs.

Minimise how frequently equipment is shared between workers, frequently clean between uses and assign to an individual where possible.

Install screens to protect workers in receptions or similar areas.

Communicate with households before arrival to discuss the steps required to safely provide close contact services in the home.

Any home visits should be carried out in accordance with government guidance for working in other people’s homes, and only the client should be present in the same room for appointments in the home.

Cleaning the workplace

Space appointments to allow for frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment between uses, using your usual cleaning products.

Frequently clean objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including door handles or staff handheld devices, and making sure there are adequate disposal arrangements for cleaning products.

Sanitise any reusable equipment, including client chairs, treatment beds, and equipment, such as scissors used after each appointment, and at the start and end of shifts.

Use disposable gowns for each client. Where this is not possible, use separate gowns (and towels in the normal way) for each client, wash between uses and dispose appropriately as required.

Encourage staff not to wear their uniforms at home or to and from the workplace, to change uniforms on a daily basis and to wash immediately after use.

Maintain good ventilation in the work environment, for example keeping windows and/or doors open.

Adopt good handwashing techniques and increase handwashing in between appointments. For mobile operators, in the absence of handwashing facilities, you must use hand sanitiser.

Provide hand sanitiser in multiple locations within the premises in addition to washrooms.

Enhance cleaning for busy areas and set out clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved as much as possible.

Where fitting rooms are essential, for example during photoshoots or fashion shows, they should be cleaned very frequently, typically between each use.

Handling goods, merchandise, deliveries and other materials

Encourage increased handwashing and introduce more handwashing facilities for workers and clients or providing hand sanitiser where this is not practical.

Implement enhanced handling procedures of laundry to prevent potential contamination of surrounding surfaces, to prevent raising dust or dispersing the virus.

Regularly clean equipment that employees may bring from or take home. Cleaning should also take place before and following client use. Ensure that equipment entering a person’s home is thoroughly cleaned before use and between clients, with usual cleaning products.

Minimise person-to-person contact when accepting deliveries by creating pick-up and drop-off collection points for deliveries entering the premises. Additionally schedule deliveries for outside of client appointment times.


As you have been closed for an extended period water in tanks and pipework would have been ‘standing’ for a period of time. Warm weather conditions may have created the right environment for legionella bacteria to grow. These type of bacteria thrive at temperatures between 20oC and 50oC.

  • Check any air conditioning or ventilation systems – these should be serviced and cleaned in accordance with manufacturer’s guidance.
  • Run all taps for approximately 5 minutes – and place any shower heads in a container of water to prevent aerosol spray being inhaled and run through.
  • Raise the temperature of water tanks to at least 60oC or above to ensure any legionella bacteria are killed.

Useful links

Further information on the guidance referred to in this document can be found via the links below:

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