Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Close contact services

Guidance for people who provide close contact services, including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers.

Applies to: England (see guidance for Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland)

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Introduction

The UK is currently experiencing a public health emergency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is critical that employers, employees, the self-employed and clients take steps to keep everyone safe. This document is to help you understand how to work safely and keep your clients safe during this pandemic, ensuring as many people as possible comply with social distancing guidelines (2m apart, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable). We hope it gives you freedom within a practical framework to think about what you need to do to continue, or restart, operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand how important it is that you can work safely and support your employees’ and clients’ health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic and not contribute to the spread of the virus. We know that many of these businesses are currently closed, by government regulation, for their usual service - this guidance will be useful for those businesses as they develop new ways of working or to help prepare for the time when they are able to reopen. The government is clear that workers should not be forced into an unsafe workplace and the health and safety of workers and clients, and public health, should not be put at risk.

We know many people are also keen to return to or contribute to volunteering. Organisations have a duty of care to volunteers to ensure as far as reasonably practicable they are not exposed to risks to their health and safety. This guidance around working safely during COVID-19 should ensure that volunteers are afforded the same level of protection to their health and safety as others, such as workers and clients.

This document has been prepared by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with input from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Public health is devolved in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales; this guidance should be considered alongside local public health and safety requirements and legislation in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For advice to businesses in other parts of the UK please see guidance set by the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government, and the Welsh Government.

We expect that this document will be updated over time. This version is up to date as of 31 July 2020. You can check for updates at www.gov.uk/workingsafely. If you have any feedback for us, please email safer.workplaces@beis.gov.uk.

This document is one of a set of documents about how to work safely in different types of workplace. This one is designed to be relevant for people who provide close contact services.

People delivering services in other people’s homes or retail environments should also refer to guidance on working safely during COVID-19 in other people’s homes and in shops and branches.

How to use this guidance

This document sets out guidance on how to open workplaces safely while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19. It gives practical considerations of how this can be applied in the workplace.

Each business will need to translate this into the specific actions it needs to take, depending on the nature of their business, including the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated. They will also need to monitor these measures to make sure they are continuing to protect clients and workers.

This guidance does not supersede 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 your existing obligations, including those relating to individuals with protected characteristics. It contains non-statutory guidance to take into account when complying with these existing obligations. When considering how to apply this guidance, take into account agency workers, contractors and other people, as well as your employees.

Where a premises delivers a mix of services, only those services that do not involve work in the highest risk zone, should be made available to clients. No treatments are to be provided on the face until government advice changes. Examples of such services would include the following, though this list is not exhaustive:

  • 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 (this does not apply to medical settings)

Treatments restricted to the body, but excluding those in the highest risk zone, can resume with mitigations as set out in this guidance.

To help you decide which actions to take, you must carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment, just as you would for other health and safety related hazards. This risk assessment must be done in consultation with unions or workers.

What do we mean by ‘close contact services’?

Close contact services include:

  • hairdressing
  • barbershops
  • beauty and nail bars
  • makeup
  • tattoo studios
  • tanning salons or booths
  • spas and wellness businesses
  • sports and massage therapy
  • well-being and holistic locations
  • dress fitters
  • tailors
  • fashion designers

This guidance is also designed for those who provide mobile close contact services from their homes and in other people’s homes, those in retail environments and the arts, as well as those studying hair and beauty in vocational training environments.

All services listed above, including mobile services, may open, but must not perform any services in the highest risk zone.

1. Thinking about risk

In this section

Objective: That all employers carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment.

COVID-19 is a public health emergency. Everyone needs to assess and manage the risks of COVID-19, and in particular businesses should consider the risks to their workers and clients. As an employer, you also have a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety. This means you need to think about the risks they face and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them, recognising you cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19.

You must make sure that the risk assessment for your business addresses the risks of COVID-19, using this guidance to inform your decisions and control measures. You should also consider the security implications of any decisions and control measures you intend to put in place, as any revisions could present new or altered security risks that may require mitigation. A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork, but rather about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace. If you have fewer than 5 workers, or are self-employed, you don’t have to write anything down as part of your risk assessment. Your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to. There are interactive tools available to support you from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Employers have a duty to consult their people on health and safety. You can do this by listening and talking to them about the work and how you will manage risks from COVID-19. The people who do the work are often the best people to understand the risks in the workplace and will have a view on how to work safely. You are encouraged to have individual discussions with your workers where reasonable, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and therefore may be returning to the workplace, to consider any uncertainties they have about precautions in place to make the workplace COVID secure. Involving them in making decisions shows that you take their health and safety seriously. You must consult with the health and safety representative selected by a recognised trade union or, if there isn’t one, a representative chosen by workers. As an employer, you cannot decide who the representative will be.

At its most effective, full involvement of your workers creates a culture where relationships between employers and workers are based on collaboration, trust and joint problem solving. As is normal practice, workers should be involved in assessing workplace risks and the development and review of workplace health and safety policies in partnership with the employer.

Employers and workers should always come together to resolve issues. If concerns still cannot be resolved, see below for further steps you can take.

Where the enforcing authority, such as the HSE or your local authority, identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they are empowered to take a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. For example, this would cover employers not taking appropriate action to ensure social distancing, where possible.

Failure to complete a risk assessment which takes account of COVID-19, or completing a risk assessment but failing to put in place sufficient measures to manage the risk of COVID-19, could constitute a breach of health and safety law. The actions the enforcing authority can take include the provision of specific advice to employers to support them to achieve the required standard, through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements. Serious breaches and failure to comply with enforcement notices can constitute a criminal offence, with serious fines and even imprisonment for up to 2 years. There is also a wider system of enforcement, which includes specific obligations and conditions for licensed premises.

Employers are expected to respond to any advice or notices issued by enforcing authorities rapidly and are required to do so within any timescales imposed by the enforcing authorities. The vast majority of employers are responsible and will join with the UK’s fight against COVID-19 by working with the government and their sector bodies to protect their workers and the public. However, inspectors are carrying out compliance checks nationwide to ensure that employers are taking the necessary steps.

Employers must follow all instructions from authorities in the event of new local restrictions.

How to raise a concern:

  • contact your employee representative
  • contact your trade union if you have one
  • contact HSE at:

HSE COVID-19 enquiries
Telephone: 0300 790 6787 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm)
Online: working safely enquiry form

1.1 Managing risk

Objective: To reduce risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures, in order of priority.

Employers have a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures. Employers must work with any other employers or contractors sharing the workplace so that everybody’s health and safety is protected. In the context of COVID-19 this means protecting the health and safety of your workers and clients by working through these steps in order:

  1. Ensuring both workers and clients who feel unwell stay at home and do not attend the premises.

  2. In every workplace, increasing the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning.

  3. Businesses and workplaces should make every reasonable effort to ensure their employees can work safely. From 1 August, this may be working from home, or within the workplace if COVID 19 Secure guidelines are followed closely. When in the workplace, everyone should make every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable). From 1 August, clinically extremely vulnerable individuals, who were previously advised to shield at home, can go to the workplace as long as it is COVID secure, but should carry on working from home wherever possible.

  4. Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, in relation to a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity can be redesigned to maintain a 2m distance or 1m with risk mitigations.

    Further mitigating actions include:

    – further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning
    – keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
    – using screens or barriers to separate clients from one another. Use screens to protect workers from clients, for example in nails salons. If the practitioner is wearing a visor, screens will not provide additional protection between the practitioner and the individual. Everyone working in close proximity for an extended period of time must wear a visor
    - work from the back (behind the client) or from the side, regularly circling the client
    – using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
    – unless crucial for the treatment, avoiding skin-to-skin contact and using gloves where possible
    – using a consistent pairing system, defined as fixing which workers work together, if workers have to be in close proximity (defined as being within arm’s-length of someone else for a sustained period of time)

  5. Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, even through redesigning a particular activity, businesses 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 their staff.

  6. Clearly, when providing close contact services, it often may not be possible to maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m apart with risk mitigation). As a result, personal protective equipment in the form of a visor will be required to mitigate the risk.

  7. If people must work face to face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners, then you will need to assess the risk and take appropriate mitigating actions including the wearing of a visor.

    In your assessment you should have particular regard to whether the people doing the work are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

The recommendations in the rest of this document are ones you must consider as you go through this process. You could also consider any advice that has been produced specifically for your sector, for example by trades associations.

If you have not already done so, you should carry out an assessment of the risks posed by COVID-19 in your workplace as soon as possible. If you are currently operating, you are likely to have gone through a lot of this thinking already. We recommend that you use this document to identify any further improvements you should make. You must review the measures you have put in place to make sure they are working. You should also review them if they may no longer be effective or if there are changes in the workplace that could lead to new risks.

1.2 Sharing the results of your risk assessment

You must share the results of your risk assessment with your workforce. If possible, you should consider publishing the results on your website (and we would expect all employers with over 50 workers to do so). We would expect all businesses to demonstrate to their workers and clients that they have properly assessed their risk and taken appropriate measures to mitigate this. You should do this by displaying a notification in a prominent place in your business and on your website, if you have one.

Below you will find a notice you should sign and display, which can also be provided as cards, stickers or similar, to show you have followed this guidance.

2. Keeping your clients and visitors safe

In this section

2.1 Keeping clients and visitors safe

Objective: To minimise the risk of transmission and protect the health of clients and visitors in close contact services.

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, in a way that is manageable for your business, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks.

Many businesses that take bookings already have systems for recording their clients and visitors – including restaurants, hotels, and hair salons. If you do not already do this, you should do so to help fight the virus. We have worked with industry and relevant bodies to design a system in line with data protection legislation. Check what data you need to collect and how it should be managed.

All premises should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other. This includes, but is not limited to refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission, particularly from aerosol transmission. We will develop further guidance, based on scientific evidence, to enable these activities as soon as possible.

Indoor gatherings should only be occurring in groups of up to 2 households (including support bubbles) while outdoor gatherings should only be occurring in groups of up to 2 households (or support bubbles), or a group of at most 6 people from any number of households. It is against the law to gather in groups of more than 30 people in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces). Businesses following COVID 19 Secure guidelines can host groups of more than 30 people indoors. For events in public outdoor spaces that are organised by businesses, charitable or political organisations and public bodies businesses can host more than 30 people provided they take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of transmission, in line with COVID 19 Secure guidance and including completion of a risk assessment. Any other gathering in an outdoor space must not be any larger than 30 people.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Encouraging clients to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the premises or before treatment.

  2. Calculating the maximum number of clients that can reasonably follow social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) and limiting the number of appointments at any one time. Take into account total floorspace as well as likely pinch points and busy areas.

  3. Determining if schedules for essential services and contractor visits can be revised to reduce interaction and overlap between people.

  4. When booking an appointment, asking the client to attend on their own, where possible.

  5. Reminding clients who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow social distancing guidelines.

  6. Informing clients and contractors of guidance about visiting the premises prior to and at the point of arrival, including information on websites, on booking forms and in entrance ways.

  7. Adjusting 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

  8. Ensuring any changes to entrances, exits and queue management take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, including disabled clients. For example, maintaining pedestrian and parking access for disabled clients.

  9. Using outside spaces for queuing where available and safe, for example some car parks, excluding disabled parking bays. Queues outside should be managed to ensure they do not cause risk to individuals or other businesses, for example by introducing queuing systems, using barriers and having staff direct clients.

  10. Minimising contact between different workers while serving a client, such as photographers, models makeup artists and stylists in a photoshoot.

  11. Operating an appointment-only system.

  12. Maintaining social distancing in waiting areas when clients wait for their appointments. When waiting areas can no longer maintain social distancing, consider moving to a ‘one-in-one-out’ policy.

  13. Encouraging clients to arrive at the time of their scheduled appointment.

  14. Reviewing working practices to minimise the duration of contact with the client. Where extended treatments are undertaken, such as braiding or massages, consider how the length of the appointment could be minimised.

  15. Discouraging the use of changing rooms wherever possible. Clients should be advised to change and shower at home.

  16. Keeping appointments short. Businesses 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, for example applying make-up.

  17. Spas should keep saunas and steam rooms closed until further notice.

  18. Spas operating gyms, hot tubs, spa pools, whirlpools, hydrotherapy or swimming pools must follow government guidance for gym/leisure facilities.

  19. Making clients aware of, and encouraging compliance with, limits on gatherings. For example, on arrival or at booking.

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

    – 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.

  21. Working with neighbouring businesses and local authorities to consider how to spread the number of people arriving throughout the day, for example by staggering opening hours; this will help reduce demand on public transport at key times and avoid overcrowding.

  22. Working with neighbouring businesses and local authorities to provide additional parking or facilities such as bike-racks, where possible, to help clients avoid using public transport.

2.2 Ventilation

Objective: To use ventilation to mitigate the transmission risk of COVID-19.

Ventilation into the building should be optimised to ensure a fresh air supply is provided to all areas of the facility and increased wherever possible.

Ventilation systems should provide an adequate supply of fresh air.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Increasing the existing ventilation rate by adjusting the fan speed.

  2. Operating the ventilation system when there are people in the building.

  3. Monitoring and managing filters in accordance to manufacturer instructions.

  4. Keeping doors and windows open if possible.

  5. Using ceiling fans or desk fans to improve air circulation, provided there is good ventilation.

2.3 Client toilets

Objective: To ensure that toilets are kept open and to ensure/promote good hygiene, social distancing, and cleanliness in toilet facilities.

Public toilets, portable toilets and toilets inside premises should be kept open and carefully managed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency and to avoid touching your face, and to cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available.

  2. 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 (while avoiding the creation of additional bottlenecks).

  3. To enable good hand hygiene consider making hand sanitiser available on entry to toilets where safe and practical, and ensure suitable handwashing facilities including running water and liquid soap and suitable options for drying (either paper towels or hand driers) are available.

  4. Setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets, with increased frequency of cleaning in line with usage. Use normal cleaning products, paying attention to frequently hand touched surfaces, and consider use of disposable cloths or paper roll to clean all hard surfaces.

  5. Keeping the facilities well ventilated, for example by fixing doors open where appropriate.

  6. Paying special attention to the cleaning of portable toilets and larger toilet blocks.

  7. Putting up a visible cleaning schedule can keep it up to date and visible.

  8. Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.

2.4 Providing and explaining available guidance

Objective: To make sure people understand what they need to do to maintain safety.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Providing clear guidance on expected client behaviours, social distancing and hygiene to people before arrival, when scheduling their appointment, and on arrival, explaining to clients that failure to observe safety measures will result in services not being provided.

  2. Providing written or spoken communication of the latest guidelines to both workers and clients inside and outside the premises. You should display posters or information setting out how clients should behave on your premises to keep everyone safe. Consider the particular needs of those with protected characteristics, such as those who are hearing or visually impaired.

  3. Providing a safety briefing of on-site protocols, rules for shared areas and key facilities, for example, handwashing, in particular for freelance workers who may work at multiple locations.

  4. Ensuring latest guidelines are available throughout the entire premises.

  5. Informing clients that they should be prepared to remove face coverings if asked to do so by police officers and staff for the purpose of identification.

  6. Ensuring information provided to clients and visitors, such as advice on the location or size of queues, does not compromise their safety.

  7. Where necessary, informing clients that police and the local authorities have the powers to enforce requirements in relation to social distancing and may instruct clients to disperse, leave an area, issue a fixed penalty notice or take further enforcement action.

3. Who should go to work

In this section

Objective: Employers should ensure workplaces are safe while also enabling working from home.

It is recognised that for most workers providing these services, it is often not possible to work from home.

Nobody should go to work if your business is closed under current government regulations.

In order to keep the virus under control, it is important that people work safely. Working from home remains one way to do this. However, the risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 Secure guidelines are followed closely. Employers should consult with their employees to determine who, from 1 August, can come into the workplace safely taking account of a person’s journey, caring responsibilities, protected characteristics, and other individual circumstances. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk. Businesses should consider the impact of workplaces reopening on local transport and take appropriate mitigating actions (e.g. staggered start and finish times for staff).

When employers consider that workers should come into their place of work then this will need to be reflected in the COVID-19 risk assessment and actions taken to manage the risks of transmission in line with this guidance. It is vital employers engage with workers to ensure they feel safe returning to work, and they should not force anyone into an unsafe workplace.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Considering the maximum number of people who can be safely accommodated on site.

  2. Planning for a phased return to work for people safely and effectively.

  3. Monitoring the wellbeing of people who are working from home and helping them stay connected to the rest of the workforce, especially if the majority of their colleagues are on-site.

  4. Keeping in touch with off-site workers on their working arrangements including their welfare, mental and physical health and personal security.

  5. Providing equipment for people to work from home safely and effectively. For administrative roles, this may include access to work systems.

3.1 Protecting people who are at higher risk

Objective:To support clinically extremely vulnerable individuals as they return to the workplace.

From 1 August, clinically extremely vulnerable individuals can return to their workplace providing COVID secure guidelines are in place but should work from home wherever possible.

If extremely clinically vulnerable individuals cannot work from home, they 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). It may not be appropriate for clinically extremely vulnerable individuals to take up an alternative role or adjusted working patterns temporarily.

As for any workplace risk you must take into account specific duties to those with protected characteristics, including, for example, expectant mothers who are, as always, entitled to suspension on full pay if suitable roles cannot be found. Particular attention should also be paid to people who live with clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Providing support for workers around mental health and wellbeing. This could include advice or telephone support.

  2. See current guidance for advice on who is in the clinically extremely vulnerable and clinically vulnerable groups.

  3. Discussing the safest possible roles for clinically extremely vulnerbale workers who are returning to the workplace.

3.2 People who need to self-isolate

Objective: To make sure individuals who are advised to stay at home under existing government guidance to stop infection spreading do not physically come to work. This includes individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19, those who live in a household or are in a support bubble with someone who has symptoms and those who are advised to self-isolate as part of the government’s test and trace service.

Steps that will usually be needed

  1. Enabling workers to work from home while self-isolating if appropriate.

  2. See current guidance for employees and employers relating to statutory sick pay due to COVID-19.

  3. Ensuring any workers who have symptoms of COVID-19-a high temperature, new and persistent cough or anosmia-however mild, should self-isolate for at least 10 days from when the symptoms started. Workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate for at least 10 days starting from the day the test was taken. Where a worker has tested positive while not experiencing symptoms but develops symptoms during the isolation period, they should restart the 10-day isolation period from the day the symptoms developed. This only applies to those who begin their isolation on or after 30 July.

  4. See current guidance for people who have symptoms and those who live with others who have symptoms.

3.3 Equality in the workplace

Objective: To make sure that nobody is discriminated against.

In applying this guidance, employers should be mindful of the particular needs of different groups of workers or individuals.

It is breaking the law to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, sex or disability, race or ethnicity.

Employers also have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers and those who are new or expectant mothers.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Understanding and taking into account the particular circumstances of those with different protected characteristics.

  2. Involving and communicating appropriately with workers whose protected characteristics might either expose them to a different degree of risk, or might make any steps you are thinking about inappropriate or challenging for them.

  3. Considering whether you need to put in place any particular measures or adjustments to take account of your duties under the equalities legislation.

  4. Making reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage, and assessing the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers.

  5. Making sure 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.

4. Social distancing for workers

In this section

Objective: Ensuring workers maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) wherever possible, including while arriving at and departing from work and while in work.

You must maintain social distancing in the workplace wherever possible.

When providing close contact services, the nature of the work is such that maintaining social distancing will not usually be possible when actively serving a client. 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 hand washing 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, screens will not provide additional protection between the practitioner and the individual
  • using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
  • 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

Social distancing applies to all parts of a business or home, not just the room where the service is delivered, but waiting rooms, corridors and staircases, where applicable. These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing and workers should be specifically reminded.

4.1 Coming to work and leaving work

Objective: To maintain social distancing wherever possible, on arrival and departure and to enable handwashing upon arrival.

Steps that will usually be needed:

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

  2. Providing additional parking or facilities such as bike-racks to help people walk, run, or cycle to work, recognising this may not be possible in smaller workplaces.

  3. Discussing with clients before arrival whether parking facilities are available for those providing treatments in the home.

  4. Reducing congestion, for example, by having more entry points to the workplace, where possible.

  5. Using markings and introducing one-way flow at entry and exit points, where possible.

  6. Providing handwashing facilities (or hand sanitiser where not possible) at entry and exit points and not using touch-based security devices such as keypads where possible.

  7. Collaborating with other businesses who may share the premises to minimise the numbers of people on site.

  8. See government guidance on travelling to and from work.

4.2 Moving around salons, premises and other people’s homes

Objective: To maintain social distancing as far as possible while people travel through the workplace.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Implementing physical changes like barriers or screens between, behind or in front of workstations where possible, such as between clients, for example at wash stations, and in reception areas.

  2. Providing floor markings and signage to remind both workers and clients to maintain social distancing wherever possible, particularly in client interaction zones.

  3. Introducing more one-way flow in high traffic areas.

  4. Making sure that people with disabilities are able to access lifts in larger workplaces or businesses based in multi-storey buildings.

  5. Discussing with the client ahead of a visit to other people’s homes to ask that social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) is maintained from other people in the household.

4.3 Workplaces and workstations

Objective: To maintain social distancing between individuals when they are at their workstations.

For people who work in one place, workstations should allow them to maintain social distancing wherever possible.

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.

If it is not possible to ensure working areas comply with social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) then businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and if so take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.

Steps that will usually be needed:

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

  2. Using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people comply with social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable).

  3. Avoiding overrunning or overlapping appointments and contacting clients virtually to let them know when they are ready to be seen, where possible.

  4. Asking clients to arrive at the scheduled time of their appointment and only providing a waiting area if social distancing can be maintained.

  5. Using 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.

  6. Using a consistent pairing system, defined as fixing which workers work together, if workers have to be in close proximity. For example, this could include a stylist and apprentice.

  7. Minimising contacts around transactions, for example, considering using contactless payments including tips, where possible.

  8. Minimising how frequently equipment is shared between workers, frequently cleaning between use and assigning to an individual where possible.

  9. Using disposable items where possible, for example nail files, and ensuring non-disposable items are cleaned and disinfected or sterilised between clients.

4.4 Common areas

Objective: To maintain social distancing while using common areas.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Staggering break times to reduce pressure on the staff break rooms or places to eat and ensuring social distancing is maintained in staff break rooms.

  2. Using safe outside areas for breaks.

  3. Creating additional space by using other parts of the working area or building that have been freed up by remote working.

  4. Installing screens to protect workers in receptions or similar areas.

  5. Encouraging workers to bring their own food and drinks. Not allowing food or drink to be consumed in the salon by clients other than water in disposable cups or bottles.

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

  7. Encouraging workers to remain on-site for their shift.

  8. Considering use of social distance marking for other common areas such as toilets, staff rooms and in any other areas where queues typically form.

  9. Preparing materials, tools and equipment in advance of scheduled appointments, such as scissors or hairbrushes in hairdressers, to minimise movement to communal working areas.

  10. Scheduling appointments to avoid client congestion in waiting areas, particularly in establishments with smaller waiting areas.

  11. Asking that only the client be present in the same room for appointments in the home.

  12. Providing a secure area where social distancing is maintained for a client when services or treatments require development time, for example hair colouring.

4.5 Accidents, security and other incidents

Objective: To prioritise safety during incidents.

In an emergency, for example, an accident, provision of first aid, fire or break-in, people do not have to comply with social distancing guidelines if it would be unsafe.

People involved in the provision of assistance to others should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards including washing hands.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Reviewing your incident and emergency procedures to ensure they reflect the social distancing principles as far as possible.

  2. Considering the security implications of any changes you intend to make to your operations and practices in response to COVID-19, as any revisions may present new or altered security risks which may need mitigations.

  3. Following government guidance on managing security risks.

5. Cleaning the workplace

In this section

5.1 Before reopening

Objective: To make sure that any site or location that has been closed or partially operated is clean and ready to restart, including:

  • an assessment for all sites, or parts of sites, that have been closed, before restarting work
  • cleaning procedures and providing hand sanitiser, before restarting work

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Checking whether you need to service or adjust ventilation systems, for example, so that they do not automatically reduce ventilation levels due to lower than normal occupancy levels.

  2. Most air conditioning systems do not need adjustment, however where systems serve multiple buildings, or you are unsure, advice should be sought from your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineers or advisers.

5.2 Keeping the workplace clean

Objective: To keep the workplace clean and prevent transmission by touching contaminated surfaces.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Spacing appointments to allow for frequent cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation of work areas, tools and equipment between uses, using your usual cleaning products.

  2. Frequent cleaning of 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, for example touch free bins.

  3. Clearing workspaces and removing waste and belongings from the work area at the end of a shift.

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

  5. Using disposable gowns for each client. Where this is not possible, use separate gowns (and towels as usual) for each client, washing between use and disposing appropriately as required.

  6. If you are cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19 then you should refer to the specific guidance.

  7. Encouraging 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.

  8. Providing extra non recycling bins for workers and clients to dispose of single use face coverings and PPE. You should refer to guidance for information on how to dispose of personal or business waste, including face coverings and PPE.

5.3 Hygiene: handwashing, sanitation facilities and toilets

Objective: To help everyone keep good hygiene through the working day.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency and avoiding touching your face.

  2. Adopting good handwashing technique and increasing handwashing during and in between appointments. For mobile operators, in the absence of handwashing facilities, you must use hand sanitiser.

  3. Providing clients access to tissues and informing them that if they do need to sneeze or cough, they should do so into the tissue, which should then be discarded appropriately and that they should wash their hands thoroughly or use hand sanitiser after using a tissue.

  4. Providing regular reminders and signage to maintain hygiene standards.

  5. Unless crucial for the treatment, change practices to avoid any potential skin to skin contact or use gloves where possible.

  6. Providing hand sanitiser in multiple locations in premises in addition to washrooms.

  7. Setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved as much as possible.

  8. Enhancing cleaning for busy areas.

  9. Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.

  10. Providing hand drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical dryers.

5.4 Changing rooms and showers

Objective: To minimise the risk of transmission in changing rooms and showers.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Discouraging the use of changing rooms wherever possible. Where the use of shower and changing facilities is unavoidable, setting clear use and cleaning guidance for showers, lockers and changing rooms to ensure they are kept clean and clear of personal items and that social distancing is achieved as much as possible.

  2. Introducing enhanced cleaning of all facilities regularly during the day and at the end of the day.

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

5.5 Handling goods, merchandise and other materials

Objective: To reduce transmission through contact with objects in the premises.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Encouraging increased handwashing and introducing more handwashing facilities for workers and clients or providing hand sanitiser where this is not practical.

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

  3. Putting in place picking-up and dropping-off collection points where possible, rather than passing goods hand-to-hand.

  4. Enforcing cleaning procedures for goods and merchandise entering the site.

  5. Regularly cleaning equipment that employees may bring from or take home. Cleaning should also take place before and following client use.

  6. Minimising person-to-person contact when accepting deliveries by creating pick-up and drop-off collection points for deliveries entering the premises.

  7. Ensuring that equipment entering a person’s home is thoroughly cleaned, disinfected or sterilised before use and between clients, with usual cleaning products.

  8. Minimising client contact with testers, for example, employees demonstrating testers from a distance or facilitating the use of testers.

6. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and face coverings

In this section

PPE protects the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high visibility clothing, safety footwear, safety harnesses and barriers/screens. It also includes respiratory protective equipment, such as face masks.

Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should continue to do so.

At the start of this document we described the steps you need to take to manage COVID-19 risk in the workplace. This includes working from home and maintaining social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable). When managing the risks of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear will not be beneficial in the majority of workplaces. This is because COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering. The exception is clinical settings, like a hospital, or a small handful of other roles for which Public Health England advises use of PPE.

In workplaces such as hairdressers and barbers, spas, beauty salons, tattoo and photoshoot studios, it is likely to be difficult to maintain social distancing, as employees need to work in close proximity to their clients, usually for an extended period of time. 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 (such as hairdressers or beauticians, because of the period of time spent in close proximity to a person’s face, mouth and nose) should therefore wear further protection in addition to any that they might usually wear. This should take the form of a clear visor that covers the face and provides a barrier between the wearer and the client from respiratory droplets caused by sneezing, coughing or speaking. Visors must fit the user and be worn properly. It should cover the forehead, extend below the chin, and wrap around the side of the face. A screen may be used by practitioners working with clients’ hands.

Both disposable and re-usable visors are available. A re-usable visor must be cleaned and disinfected regularly using normal cleaning products. You should strongly encourage clients to wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces such as salons or studios where social distancing may be difficult and where they come into contact with people that they do not normally meet.

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.

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 reduces that risk.

Services which require workers to be within the highest risk zone of clients, for the entire duration or the majority of the time the service is being provided (such as eyelash extensions), should not be resumed until government guidance changes.

6.1 Face coverings

There is growing evidence that wearing a face covering in an enclosed space helps protect individuals and those around them from COVID-19. However, face coverings are not an alternative for employees who wear a visor in close contact services.
A face covering can be very simple and may be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. It just needs to cover your mouth and nose. It is not the same as a face mask, such as the surgical masks or respirators used by health and care workers. Similarly, face coverings are not the same as the PPE used to manage risks like dust and spray in an industrial context. Supplies of PPE, including face masks, must continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, or for protecting against dust hazards in industrial settings.

Face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk, including minimising time spent in contact, using fixed teams and partnering for close-up work, and increasing hand and surface washing. These other measures remain the best ways of managing risk in the workplace and government would therefore not expect to see employers relying on face coverings as risk management for the purpose of their health and safety assessments.

Wearing a face covering is required by law when travelling as a passenger on public transport in England and in a number of indoor premises. People are also encouraged to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces where there are people they do not normally meet.

Find further detail on when and where to wear face coverings.

Some people don’t have to wear a face covering including for health, age or equality reasons. If you choose to wear one, it is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and before and after taking them off. Employers should support their workers in using face coverings safely if they choose to wear one. This means telling workers:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, and before and after removing it
  • when wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands
  • change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
  • continue to wash your hands regularly
  • change and wash your face covering daily
  • if the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual waste
  • practise social distancing wherever possible

Please be mindful that the wearing of a face covering may inhibit communication with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.

7. Workforce management

In this section

7.1 Shift patterns and outbreaks

7.1.1 Shift patterns and working groups

Objective: To change the way work is organised to create distinct groups and reduce the number of contacts each worker has.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. As far as possible, where workers are split into teams or shift groups, or assigned to specific tasks, fixing these teams or shift groups so that where contact is unavoidable, this happens between the same people.

  2. Identifying areas where people have to directly pass things to each other and finding ways to remove direct contact such as by using drop-off points or transfer zones.

  3. Using a defined process to help maintain social distancing during shift handovers.

  4. Limiting role/task rotation including remaining at a consistent workstation where possible.

  5. Staggering shift start times, minimising worker congregation such as at entrances and exits.

  6. Creating a schedule for staff detailing in advance how treatments will take place and what arrangements have been made with clients.

  7. You should 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. Check what data you need to collect and how it should be managed.

7.1.2 Outbreaks in the workplace

Objective: To provide guidance in an event of a COVID-19 outbreak in the workplace.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. As part of your risk assessment, you should ensure you have an up to date plan in case there is a COVID-19 outbreak. This plan should nominate a single point of contact (SPOC) where possible who should lead on contacting local Public Health teams.

  2. If there is more than one case of COVID-19 associated with your workplace, you should contact your local PHE health protection team to report the suspected outbreak. Find your local PHE health protection team.

  3. If the local PHE health protection team declares an outbreak, you will be asked to record details of symptomatic staff and assist with identifying contacts. You should therefore ensure all employment records are up to date. You will be provided with information about the outbreak management process, which will help you to implement control measures, assist with communications to staff, and reinforce prevention messages.

7.2 Work-related travel

Objective: To avoid unnecessary work travel and keep people safe when they do need to travel between locations.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Walking or cycling where possible. Where not possible, you can use public transport or drive. You must wear a face covering when using public transport.

  2. Minimising the number of people outside of your household or support bubble travelling together in any one vehicle, using fixed travel partners, increasing ventilation when possible and avoiding sitting face-to-face.

  3. Cleaning shared vehicles between shifts or on handover.

  4. Putting in place procedures to minimise person-to-person contact during deliveries to other sites.

  5. Minimising contact during payments and exchange of documentation, for example by using electronic payment methods and electronically signed and exchanged documents.

7.3 Communications and training

7.3.1 Returning to work

Objective: To make sure all workers understand COVID-19 related safety procedures.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Providing clear, consistent and regular communication to improve understanding and consistency of ways of working.

  2. Engaging with workers and worker representatives through existing communication routes to explain and agree any changes in working arrangements.

  3. Developing communication and training materials for workers prior to returning to site, especially around new procedures for arrival at work.

  4. Ensuring staff understand how to use, store, clean or dispose of their PPE.

7.3.2 Ongoing communications and signage

Objective: To make sure all workers are kept up to date with how safety measures are being implemented or updated.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Ongoing engagement with workers (including through trade unions or employee representative groups) to monitor and understand any unforeseen impacts of changes to working environments.

  2. Awareness and focus on the importance of mental health at times of uncertainty. The government has published guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19).

  3. Using simple, clear messaging to explain guidelines using images and clear language, with consideration of groups for which English may not be their first language and those with protected characteristics such as visual impairments.

  4. Using visual communications, for example whiteboards or signage, to explain changes to appointment schedules or stock shortages without the need for face-to-face communications.

  5. Communicating approaches and operational procedures to suppliers, clients or trade bodies to help their adoption and to share experience, such as with emails or social media.

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

8. Inbound and outbound goods

Objective: To maintain social distancing and avoid surface transmission when goods enter and leave the premises, especially in high volume situations, for example, despatch areas.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Minimising unnecessary contact for deliveries. For example, non-contact deliveries where the nature of the product allows for use of electronic pre-booking.

  2. Considering methods to reduce frequency of deliveries, for example by ordering larger quantities less often.

  3. Where possible and safe, having single workers load or unload vehicles or meet delivery people at the front door.

  4. Scheduling deliveries for outside of client appointment times.

  5. Re-stocking/replenishing outside of workplace operating hours.

Where to obtain further guidance

Find advice and support from your business representative organisation or trade association.

Appendix

Definitions

Clinically extremely vulnerable people Refers to people who have specific underlying health conditions that make them extremely vulnerable to severe illness if they contract COVID-19. Clinically extremely vulnerable people will have received a letter telling them they are in this group, or will have been told by their GP. Who is ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’?
Clinically vulnerable people Refers to people who may be at increased risk from COVID-19, including those aged 70 or over and those with some underlying health conditions. Who is ‘clinically vulnerable’?
Common areas Refers to areas and amenities which are provided for the common use of more than one person including canteens, reception areas, meeting rooms, areas of worship, toilets, gardens, fire escapes, kitchens, fitness facilities, store rooms, laundry facilities.
Highest risk zone The area in front of the face where splashes and droplets from the nose and mouth may be present, which can pose a hazard.
Support bubbles The term ‘support bubble’ refers to single adult households, where adults live alone or with dependent children only, expanding their support network so that it includes one other household of any size. Meeting people from outside your household.