[Updated] Beauty businesses: everything you need to know about Covid-19 local lockdowns

With many parts of the UK in lockdown or under strict tier restrictions due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we give you the lowdown on what these localised rules mean for beauty businesses operating in those areas.

We also include an everything you need to know guide on the four-tier alert system for Covid-19 lockdowns in England, and Scotland's five-level system of coronavirus restrictions. 

Note: this page will be updated regularly as further news about these lockdowns break. 

What's happening in England?

UPDATE: Personal care businesses in England, including beauty salons, spas and mobile therapists, can reopen from April 12, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed.

Speaking during a public briefing, the Prime Minister confirmed that the next stage of England’s roadmap out of coronavirus lockdown will commence from April 12, meaning beauty businesses can reopen, although spas will not be allowed to operate their saunas and steam rooms until stage three, which will be no earlier than May 17.

The Government has also published an update to its Coronavirus restrictions document, which states "From 12 April non-essential retail will be able to reopen; personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen".

Unlike the gradual reopening following lockdown one in summer 2020, there will be no restrictions on face treatments, providing safety guidleines are followed.

England's four-step roadmap out of coronavirus lockdown:

Step one – lockdown easing began in March, with the reopening of schools from March 8 and the return of the rule of six for outdoor meet-ups from March 29

Step two – salons to reopen, along with non-essential retail. Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to serve customers outdoors. This will come into force from April 12, providing step one goes according to plan

Step three – a full return for indoor entertainment, including gyms as well as bars and restaurants, and this is expected to come in from May

Step four – a return to household mixing indoors, UK holidays and some large-scale events. This is expected from June 21.

What's happening in Scotland?

On March 30, Scotland updated its Retail Sector Guidance document, which includes close contact services such as beauty salons, hairdressers and barbers, it covers the procedures businesses need to take to ensure staff and client safety during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as providing an operations checklist. 

The biggest change to the guidance is the update to the Strategic Framework system (Levels 0–4) and what close contact services can operate within each.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that beauty salons and mobile beauty businesses in Scotland could reopen their doors on April 26 as part of the Scottish Government’s coronavirus roadmap. However, hairdressers and barbershops were able to reopen from an earlier date of April 5 on an appointment-only basis – but this date does not apply to mobile hairdressers. 

Sturgeon announced the news in an address on March 16, where she made a statement giving greater detail on Scotland’s route out of Covid-19 lockdown. She said that these reopening dates are not definitive and will depend on how well the pandemic is being contained in Scotland and how well the vaccine rollout is going. 

From April 26, the travel ban will also be lifted, with the country returning to the Covid-19 levels system (which you can read about below). 

The Scottish Government is also providing more coronavirus financial support to mobile and home-based businesses during this time with the Mobile and Home Based Close Contact Services Fund and the reopened Newly Self-Employed Hardship FundFind out how to apply for both now

Explained – Scotland’s five-level system of coronavirus restrictions:

Scotland's five-level system of coronavirus restrictions aims to help suppress the virus. The five tiers – level Zero to Four – will be applied in different areas of Scotland dependant on their Covid-19 rates. Sturgeon said the strategy was about “striking the best balances we can” between keeping infection rates down and avoiding wider harm to businesses and individuals.

Level 0 – Near Normal – Indoor meetings allowed, maximum eight people from three households. 15 people from five households can meet outdoors.

Level 1 – Medium – Six people from two households can meet indoors and outdoors. 

Level 2 – High – No indoor meetings with other households. Six people from two households can meet outdoors and in hospitality settings. This level will also involve closing pubs indoors or severely restricting opening times.

Level 3 – Very High – Closing pubs indoors and outdoors. Restaurants may be able to remain open under strict conditions. 

Level 4 – Lockdown – Closer to a full lockdown of the type the UK went into in March 2020, with non-essential shops being forced to close. Some outdoors meeting still allowed. Schools will stay open. 

Read the full list of restrictions happening in Scotland

What’s happening in Wales?

It was confirmed on April 1 that beauty salons in Wales will be allowed to reopen their doors on April 12 as part of the Welsh Government's roadmap out of coronavirus lockdown, while hairdressers and barbers were allowed to reopen on March 15. 

When asked why hairdressers were being allowed to reopen in March but beauty was not, Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford told Wales Online: "We are...trying to follow the pattern as we did last year because that pattern was successful. 

"This is exactly what we did last year. We reopened hairdressers and barbers first and then had a couple of weeks to make sure that that was going well and we were not seeing the virus back in circulation. Then, other close contact services will able to resume from April 12, providing these first steps go well."

Non-essential retail shops are also to remain closed until April 12, although garden centres can reopen from March 22.

Drakeford also said self-contained accommodation would be allowed to reopen from March 27, as long as cases remained low, but people can only go with their own household.

Read the full list of restrictions in Wales.

What's happening in Northern Ireland?

Restrictions began to ease in Northern Ireland from April 1 including allowances for people to begin meeting outdoors in groups of up to 10. Further restrictions are due to be lifted from April 12, but as yet there is no confirmed reopening date for beauty salons.

The current lockdown originally came into force on Boxing Day (December 26) and involved the closure of all salons and spas, as well as non-essential shops, pubs, bars and restaurants (apart from takeaways).

This is the latest in a series of lockdowns in the nation, the most recent being a two-week “circuit-break” lockdown that came into effect on November 27, just one week after beauty businesses had been allowed to reopen following the previous closure period.

Prior to that, First minister Arlene Foster announced that the November Covid-19 lockdown would be extended for one more week, with a partial reopening of some sectors on November 20, including close-contact services and unlicensed premises. Beauty and hair salons were only be able to do treatments by appointment-only (no walk ins). 

Northern Ireland went into a second coronavirus lockdown to help curb the spread of the virus on October 16 for four weeks, with businesses originally expected to reopen on November 13. 

Read the full list of restrictions in Northern Ireland

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Check out the rules on clients wearing face coverings in salon for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland