Government warns hair sector to follow safety guidelines or close

Government officials have warned that they will close the hair and barbering sector in England if they do not follow safety guidelines, following the tougher PPE measures revealed on 14 August.

The latest changes include the requirement for all hair and beauty professionals to wear both a Type II face mask and a visor while working.

Generally, those working in the hair and beauty industry have been doing all they can to correctly follow the guidance but there is on-going evidence of professionals not wearing the correct PPE, not adhering to social distancing, and still operating walk-in services.

The NHBF has been told by government officials that failure by the industry to comply will result in the hair and beauty sector being closed down, prompting the NHBF to launch its #DoItRight campaign. This is to ensure hair, barbering and beauty professionals across the UK understand exactly what is required of them to keep working and reduce the risk of further restrictions or lockdowns.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has issued a statement to the NHBF, stating all businesses are at risk of receiving formal action from local authorities if they are not following their risk assessments. Failure to comply with an enforcement notice from a local authority officer can lead to prosecution in the criminal courts and penalties including fines or up to two years’ imprisonment.

In England, the main points to remember are:

  • Wearing a visor – the guidelines which were updated on 14 August now say you must also wear a Type II face mask for extra protection
  • Using a booking-only system and maintaining social distancing in the workplace
  • Frequent washing of hands
  • Using screens, back to back/side to side working
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and tools, especially after each client
  • Contacting clients before appointments to check if clients have COVID symptoms, in which case they must cancel
  • Displaying the COVID 19 Secure notice in a prominent place

The rules are slightly different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but they apply to everyone working in hair and beauty: hairdressers, barbers, nail technicians, beauty therapists, eyebrow and eyelash professionals and beauty aesthetics practitioners, including mobile workers in hair and beauty.

Regional outbreaks of the virus have popped up around the UK, prompting local lockdown measures including the closure of businesses. Local authorities have been given additional powers to close businesses where the rules aren’t being followed.

“We have worked hard to ensure hair and beauty salons, barbershops and individual professionals can get back to work but because some are failing to follow the guidelines, they are putting the whole industry at risk,” said Hilary Hall, chief executive of the NHBF.

“We’ve launched our #DoItRight campaign to help hair and beauty businesses across the UK understand the guidelines that apply in their part of the country.  The last thing any of us want is to face further restrictions, further lockdowns or a second spike in coronavirus infections. The impact on our industry would be devastating.  Please do your bit to help and show you’re putting the industry first as well as protecting the safety of your teams and your clients.”

The Safer Workplace guidelines are available to view in full on the gov.uk website.