Scotland: face covering restrictions finally lifted in salons and spas

The restrictions around clients wearing a face covering during treatments in salons and spas will finally be lifted in Scotland from Monday, allowing the beauty industry to get back to fully operational.

Beauty associations Babtac, the British Beauty Council, NHBF and UK Spa Association have been lobbying the Scottish Government to change the rules around face coverings to bring them in line with rest of the UK. 

The associations received confirmation of the decision today (May 25) from Kate Forbes MSP, the Cabinet Secretary Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy.

From Monday (May 31), therapists will be permitted to offer clients treatments to the face as long as the practitioner is wearing a Type IIR face mask and a face visor or goggles.

The restrictions around mask wearing during treatments has had a significant impact on revenue for salons in Scotland, because they were not able to offer many of their usual facial services. Recent figures from NHBF showed that 10% of Scottish businesses in the industry had closed for good by December 2020 as a result.

The change of rules came as the result of an urgent review into close contact guidance in Scotland in April, focusing on the wearing of face coverings during treatments, with evidence presented by the associations. 

Commenting on the decision, Babtac chair Lesley Blair said, “We are absolutely delighted to have been instrumental in bringing about the lifting of this restriction in Scotland.

“Professionals working in this industry have always followed strict health and safety guidelines and have continued to ensure a safe environment during the pandemic with the use of extensive PPE. We are, therefore, grateful that finally the beauty industry can all properly get back to work. It is equally important that consumers support the industry and feel safe getting back into the salons to have their favourite treatments done.”

NHBF chief executive Richard Lambert added, “I’m delighted that salons in Scotland will finally be on a level playing field with the rest of the UK and that we succeeded in making the case that this is a safe and responsible sector. It proves that building relationships with Government is every bit as important as campaigning hard.”

Helena Grzesk, COO of The British Beauty Council and UKSA policy consultant added: “It's fabulous news for the hundreds of make-up artists and beauty practitioners in Scotland who have…been unable to work due to the existing face covering requirements. Naturally, we are delighted that the Scottish government listened and took the time to review the beauty industry's call to allow clients to temporarily remove face coverings to receive a treatment.” 

According to NHBF statitstics, Pre-Coivd, the hair, beauty and holistic service industry generated more than £880 million annually for the Scottish economy with over 3,800 businesses in Scotland on local high streets.

An update to the current guidance for close contact services in Scotland has been published to reflect the changes.