After months of closure, hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons will be able to reopen to customers in April 2021.

It’s great news for millions of people who are desperate to get a haircut or have their beards or nails done. But what rules will be in place?

The Government announced that all non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings, such as libraries and community centres, are set to reopen from April 12, following a review of the latest Covid data on April 5.

Mobile hairdressers are included in this, with several saying they are now taking bookings for April 12 and beyond.

Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen on the same day, meaning everyone can start to get themselves looking and feeling good again.

Strict rules were drawn up for hair and beauty businesses to make sure they operate in a Covid-secure way in line with Government guidelines to keep staff and clients safe. These were first produced in June 2020, updated in November and are expected to remain in place when the latest lockdown is eased. We’ll update this article if any further changes are made.



Hair and beauty salons are preparing to reopen next month

The guidance covers all ‘close contact’ services. These include hairdressing, barbershops, 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.

It’s also aimed at those who provide those services from their homes or in other people’s homes, as well as those studying hair and beauty at college.

Turning up on the off-chance to get a haircut won’t be allowed. You’ll have to make an appointment.

Socially-distant waiting areas should be provided and when these fill up, salons should use a ‘one in, one out’ system. Businesses are urged not to provide newspapers or magazines in waiting areas.


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The rules also include more frequent handwashing and surface cleaning, working from the back (behind the client) or the side, regularly circling the customer, and wearing visors and face masks.

Staff should be put in pairs if they have to work within an arm’s length of someone for a sustained period of time, to minimise social contact.

Type II face masks should be used by staff. These are medical face masks made up of protective three-ply construction that prevents large particles from reaching the client or working surfaces.

Customers’ contact details should be recorded for NHS Test and Trace as well as staff shift patterns to identify who was working at the time of any reported case of Covid.


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In addition, premises are urged not to have radios or stereos playing at a loud volume. The guidance says: “Steps should be taken to mitigate the increased risk of virus transmission associated with aerosol production from raised voices, such as when speaking loudly or singing loudly, particularly in confined and poorly ventilated spaces. This should include lowering the volume of background music and discouraging people from raising their voices or shouting. “

Appointments should be limited to take account of social distancing, customers should be asked on arrival if they’ve had any Covid symptoms and encouraged to use hand sanitiser when entering the salon.

A one-way system should be used where premises are large enough, along with queue management.

In addition, “businesses should consider providing shorter, more basic treatments to keep the time to a minimum.”

Good ventilation should be provided by using fans and keeping windows and doors open where possible.

Toilets on the premises can stay open and should have clearly visible signs about handwashing plus markings for social distancing, and a limited entry of one in, one out. More frequent cleaning and bin emptying should be carried out in toilets.

Treatments described as in a “highest risk zone” are listed as:

  • Face waxing, sugaring or threading services
  • Facial treatments
  • Advanced facial technical (electrical or mechanical)
  • Eyelash treatments
  • Make-up application
  • Dermarolling
  • Dermaplaning
  • Microblading
  • Electrolysis on the face
  • Eyebrow treatments
  • Intricate detailing, outlining or shaving of beards
  • Advanced beauty therapy and aesthetic treatments

In these cases, customers can’t wear a face covering while the treatment is being carried out.

The guidance acknowledges that when providing close contact services, social distancing is not always possible.

It states: “In these circumstances, employers, employees and the self-employed should do everything they reasonably can to reduce risk.

“Mitigating actions include:

  • Further increasing the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning.
  • Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible.
  • Using screens or barriers to separate clients from one another. If the practitioner is wearing a visor/goggles and Type II face mask, screens will not provide additional protection between the practitioner and the individual.
  • Working from the back (behind the client) or from the side, regularly circling the client.
  • Seeking to avoid skin to skin contact with colleagues and clients if not crucial for the treatment, and wearing gloves where possible.
  • Using a consistent pairing system if workers have to be in close proximity.
  • Only opening client waiting areas where social distancing can be maintained.
  • Maintaining social distancing between the treatment or service areas, such as client chairs.

Contactless payments should be encouraged and disposable items (such as nail files) should be used where possible.

Salons can provide hot or cold drinks to clients in disposable cups or bottles. Customers should only remove their mask to consume the drink with staff keeping a social distance at that point.

Tools and equipment – such as scissors and brushes – should be collected in advance of appointments to minimise movement to communal working areas.

There should be a secure area where social distancing is maintained if treatments require development time, such as hair colouring.

Bookings are to be spaced out to allow for frequent cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation of work areas, tools and equipment between clients.

Reusable equipment, including client chairs, treatment beds and tools such as scissors, should be sanitised after each appointment.

Fresh or disposable gowns and clean towels should be used for each customer.