[Update] Government guidance updated for close contact services in England
[Update: December 2]: Following the November 30 update to Government Guidance, the NHBF has released some points of clarity on the detail of the new rules around mandatory face coverings in salons.
In a statement, the National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) said: "The new law only requires a face covering for staff (Type II face mask recommended), not visors or goggles, and clients can remove their mask for relevant treatments, as before.
"However, it only applies to receptionists if there is no physical barrier or screen between workers and members. If there is a screen, then face coverings do not need to be worn. Enforcement action can be taken if staff are not behind a barrier or screen and are not wearing a face covering.
[Update November 30]: The guidance for close contact services in England has been updated in light of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19. Masks are once again mandatory for staff and clients (unless exempt). Visors are not required.
The key changes that beauty salons, spas and mobile/home-based therapists need to be aware of are:
- Staff and customers are required by law to wear a face covering in shops. This includes: premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (such as hair salons, barbers, nail salons, massage centres, tattoo and piercing studios).
- Face coverings are required in premises that provide close contact services. Staff and customers should also wear a face covering if close contact services are taking place in someone’s home.
- Shops and personal care services must display signage or take other measures to ensure customers are aware of the obligation to wear a face covering where there is no applicable exemption.
- It’s illegal for employers and businesses to prevent people, including staff, from wearing a face covering in these settings.
The previous update to the guidance came into force in July when face coverings were no longer mandatory.
Prior to this, the Government's official guidance for close contact services, including beauty salons, spas and therapists, was previously updated on March 30, 2021, ahead of the April 12 reopening date, with new rules around ventilation and testing.
Commenting on the change, Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Hair & Beauty Federation, said, “We all have a duty of care to protect staff and clients. Whilst the wearing of face masks at work again may feel inconvenient, it is now a legal requirement.
"I met BEIS and Cabinet Office officials this week who made clear this measure is designed to stop any further restrictions, such as social distancing or another lockdown, that could severely affect business just as the industry is recovering.”
The NHBF also warned: "It is a legal requirement in England for close contact services (including hair, barbering, beauty, nails, eyelashes, tanning and aesthetics) to display a notice advising that face coverings must be worn unless a person is exempt. The notice must be displayed in a visible location, for example, on the front door. Failure to do so could result in a £1,000 fine."
You can read the Government's updated guidance for close contact services here.