Last updated 7 August 2020
Do you work in close contact services? The government has released new Covid-19 secure guidance for salons, hairdressers, tattooists and other businesses preparing to reopen.
From hairdressing health and safety and personal hygiene in a salon to beauticians, massage therapists and tailors, are there any specific rules you need to follow? We’ve rounded up the current government guidelines for close contact services.
Mobile close contact services are also included in the guidance, so if you’re running a business from home or out visiting clients, here’s what’s required.
The government gives a few close contact services examples:
Specific reopening dates apply to these businesses:
For spas, keep in mind that you can operate these activities outdoors from 13 July and indoors from 25 July, provided you’re following all of the guidance: gyms, hot tubs, spa pools, whirlpools, hydrotherapy and swimming pools.
The government did announce that services carried out on the 'highest risk zone' could resume from 1 August, but have now postponed that by at least a fortnight. The government defines the highest risk zone as “the area in front of the face where splashes and droplets from the nose and mouth may be present, which can pose a hazard”. This means that businesses focusing exclusively on these services are still unable to open.
Activities in the highest risk zone include facial treatments and eyebrow threading.
When specific close contact service businesses can start to reopen from 4 July, the government’s basic principles around public safety remain the same:
The guidance doesn’t replace or take priority over any health and safety, employment or equality legal obligations you may have in your industry. And you’ll need to factor agency workers and contractors into your plans, as well as your employees.
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If you employ people, you’re legally responsible for health and safety within your business. So you’ll need to make sure the risk assessment you already have in place addresses Covid-19, and is part of how your business runs day-to-day.
If you have fewer than five workers, or are self-employed, you don’t have to write anything down as part of your risk assessment. However, all employers should speak to their workers about health and safety and managing the risks of Covid-19. And if you have a duty to a recognised trade union, you’ll need to factor this in too.
For more information and guidance on how to create your own risk assessment, which includes coronavirus-specific precautions, head to the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) website.
Failure to complete a risk assessment which takes account of coronavirus, or putting measures in place, could mean a breach of health and safety law.
The government has set out six priority-order steps to help you manage health and safety:
For the last step, the government has given specific information for close contact work. If the activity can’t go ahead safely, it shouldn’t be resumed, and nobody should be forced into carrying it out.
Services which require workers to be within the ‘highest risk zone’ of clients – the area in front of the face – for the entire time (or the majority of the service) aren't yet able to resume. Despite announcing they could start from 1 August, on 31 July the government postponed that by at least two weeks.
Social distancing guidelines can be difficult to maintain with close contact work. As well as using PPE, the government says businesses should:
You must share your risk assessment results with your workers. The government expects all employers with over 50 employees to publish these on their company website. And whatever your business size, you should have a prominent notice on display, like this government-designed Covid-19 sign.
The government has set out the steps you should take to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and keep everyone in contact with your business safe. These include:
You can find more close contact business safety steps on the government’s website.
The guidance around these topics is regularly updated on the government’s website – you’ll find a whole hub page designed for close contact services and businesses.
There’s also a section dedicated to inbound and outbound goods, handy if you have lots of deliveries to your premises and need to maintain social distancing.
Particular risks apply to close contact businesses – the government updates its guidelines regularly so make a note of the resources on offer. You can also check the Simply Business Covid-19 support page for small business-specific coronavirus support.
For the most up-to-date rules, please check the government's guidance to see how to apply it specifically to your business:
Are you preparing to reopen your close contact services business? What’s your biggest concern?
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