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Government guidelines for English hairdressers and barbers finally released

Hairdressing equipment plus mask

Face visors required for hairdressers and barbers, with appointment system needed to support NHS test-and-trace efforts

Update: 30 June 

Northern Ireland has said it will adopt the official government guidelines for safe reopening of salons and barbershops.


With 10 days to go before English salons reopen on 4 July, the government guidelines are now available. The governments in Wales and Scotland have yet to make any announcement on whether they will be adopting the same guidelines as England, or publishing their own.

The main points to know:

  • Currently, hairdressers and barbers will only be allowed to treat/cut the hair on the head only – this rules out shaving but you can trim
  • A face visor is required in terms of PPE requirements – there is no requirement for the client to wear any additional protection such as a mask or face covering, when the practitioner is wearing a visor. However, clients and workers who want to wear a face covering should be allowed to do so.
  • All salons must stick to social distancing and maintain two metres between clients, or one metre with additional precautions, such as the use of screens. Where practical, screens/barriers between clients are advised, and at the backwash and reception
  • Workstations should be kept to one individual worker as much as possible
  • Side-to-side or back-to-back working should be followed wherever possible
  • Mobile hairdressers to discuss with the client ahead of a visit to other people’s homes to ask that social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable) is maintained from other people in the household
  • No food or drinks to be consumed in the salon by clients other than water in disposable cups or bottles
  • Waiting areas can continue to be used only if social distancing can be maintained, otherwise use a one-in-one-out policy
  • Minimise contacts around transactions, for example, considering using contactless payments including tips, where possible.
  • You’ll need to go appointment only and avoid walk-ins to manage client flow. Salon and barbershop owners will be required to keep a temporary record of all clients and visitors for 21 days to support the NHS test-and-trace system, which controls outbreaks of the virus. For details on keeping records, check here
  • There is no restriction on the use of hairdryers

Face visors must be worn by anyone carrying out hairdressing, barbering or beauty activities. These provide a clear Perspex covering for the eyes, nose and mouth from the forehead down. Face coverings may be worn as an extra precaution, but not as an alternative to visors.

The Government makes a distinction between face coverings and face masks. Face masks are used by health and care workers, while face coverings are what the government is advising people to wear on public transport. Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you from the virus, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not developed symptoms.

The ‘highest risk zone’ is the area in front of the face where splashes and droplets from the nose and mouth which may not be visible can be present.

“Although its great news that hairdressers and barbers in England have a confirmed opening date, these decisions have come very late in the day,” said the NHBF’s Hilary Hall. “We are also extremely disappointed that beauty businesses are not yet allowed to reopen, and we have always emphasised that hair and beauty should reopen at the same time. We will continue to put pressure on the government to allow beauty businesses to reopen as soon as possible, and for financial support to be extended.”

Click here for the full guidelines – we will continue to update this story