[Updated] Government guidance updated for close contact services in England

[Updated: November 26] The Government's official guidance regarding PPE and refreshments has been changed for close contact services including beauty salons, spas and therapists.

On November 26, the Government updated its guidance for close contact services

Salon risk assessment

The new guidance has an updated section on risk assessment. As well as calculating how many clients you can have within your salon, and limiting appointment durations in order to reduce infection risk, employers should also ensure any changes to entrances, exits and queue management take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, including disabled clients.

The update also includes recommendations for ventilating your business. This can differ for different premises, so check the HSE advice on ventilation for information on the best course of action to take.

Vulnerable workers

Additionally, you should also consider ways to protect the extremely vulnerable. The higher-risk groups include those who:

Depending on which tier you are in, the advice for clinically extremely vulnerable individuals on attending work differs.

In Tier 1: Medium alert and Tier 2: High alert: Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are advised to work from home where possible but can still attend work if they cannot work from home.

In Tier 3: Very High alert: Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are strongly advised to work from home, but can still attend work if they cannot work from home. Employers should consider whether clinically extremely vulnerable individuals can take on an alternative role or change their working patterns temporarily to avoid travelling during busy periods.

The advice also includes providing support for workers around mental health and wellbeing. This could include advice or telephone support.

PPE

The latest update includes simplified guidance on PPE. This must take the form of a clear visor or goggles as well as a Type II face mask: a medical face mask made up of a protective 3-ply construction that prevents large particles from reaching the client or working surfaces.

Visors must fit the user and be worn properly. They should cover the forehead, extend below the chin, and wrap around the side of the face. Re-usable visors must be cleaned and disinfected between each client using normal cleaning products.

Goggles may be used as an alternative to a clear visor, when worn with a Type II face mask. To be worn in place of a clear visor, goggles must be close fitting with no obvious openings or vents that would otherwise allow droplets to enter the eyes. Reusable eye protection should be cleaned according.

All clients must wear a face covering unless removal is essential to perform a treatment. However, some people don’t have to wear a face covering including for health, age or equality reasons

By law businesses must remind people to wear face coverings where they are required, for instance using signage or verbal reminder.

Steps to take in an outbreak

As part of your risk assessment, you should have a plan if there is a Covid-19 outbreak in your business. It should nominate a single point of contact who should be responsible for contacting local Public Health teams.

If there are more than five cases of Covid-19 within 14 days associated with your business, you should contact your local PHE health protection team to report the outbreak.

Saunas and steam rooms

Under the current tier system, saunas and steam rooms in tier 3 must remain closed. However, the UK Spa Association said it has received an update from BEIS that saunas and steam rooms will be able to open in tier 3 and that the Government guidance on this would soon be updated.

The previous update (in September) included:

Goggles can now be worn as an alternative to face visors. However, a Type II face mask must still be worn by all practitioners. Goggles must be polycarbonate safety spectacles or equivalent.

Clients can now be given hot or cold drinks, providing they are served in disposable cups or bottles. They can only remove their face coverings to drink and must keep them on elsewhere in salon. Food, however, remains off the menu.

In addition, Test and Trace is now mandatory. Salons and therapists must have a system in place that collects the client’s name, phone number, the date and time of their visit, as well as the details of the person who provided the service. 

Allowing clients into your premises who have not provided details is now considered an offence and will come with a fine.

This update in England comes after face coverings for people in shops and enclosed spaces became mandatory in Wales.

You can read the Government's updated guidance for close contact services here.

Access our update on local lockdowns, including which tier each area of England falls into, here