New guidance for “close contact” businesses – such as hairdressers – has been published by the Government for England.
– What can I expect when I enter the hair salon?
Markings on the floor will show where people should sit, and customers will be encouraged to turn up to their appointment exactly on time rather than congregating in waiting areas.
If there is a queue, this should be outside with social distancing in place, and people should aim to attend appointments on their own.
Customers can expect to be seated away from others and side-to-side, with at least one metre (and preferably two) between themselves and other clients.
Till points will have perspex screens between customers and cashiers, and doors and windows will be kept open to increase ventilation.
Using screens to create a physical barrier between workstations, where this is practical, is also recommended.
– What about face coverings?
Hairdressers must wear a protective visor that extends below their chin, but do not need to wear an additional face mask.
Customers can choose to wear a face covering if they wish to but this is not mandatory.
– Will I get my usual coffee and magazine?
Do not expect a coffee. Customers will be encouraged to bring their own drinks, otherwise disposable cups may be used in the salon.
Magazines have been ditched due to the risk of transferring Covid-19 via surfaces.
Music must also be turned down low so that people do not end up shouting to one another, which increases the risk of transmitting the virus.
Having a blow dry is not banned under the guidance.
– Will there be scrupulous hygiene?
Yes. The guidance says customers should be encouraged to wash or sanitise their hands as they enter the premises or before a treatment.
Salons should use disposable equipment where possible, but should wash non-disposable equipment such as scissors between each client.
Customer chairs should also be sanitised after each use, toilets cleaned regularly and disposable gowns used for each person where possible, with clean towels for each client.
– How will I know if there has been a coronavirus outbreak linked to a salon?
Salons and other close contact services must keep a temporary record of all clients and visitors for 21 days in case there is an outbreak.
This would enable NHS Test and Trace to easily contact anyone who has been in close contact with an infected individual, telling them to self-isolate.
– What if I’m feeling under the weather on the day?
Stay at home. Clients will be given a Covid-19 screening questionnaire ahead of their appointment, which includes questions on coronavirus symptoms. These are a new cough, high temperature or loss of taste or smell.
Anyone with even mild symptoms will be told to stay at home and self-isolate.
Salons have the right to refuse to see anyone, while police and local authorities have the powers to enforce requirements in relation to social distancing.
– Can mobile hairdressers work?
Yes, but only the client should be present in the same room for appointments in the home.