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Reopening your hair or beauty salon safely in COVID-19

27 August 2020 Small Business Advice

Lockdown locks and covid-cuts are now thankfully a thing of the past, as the UK’s hairdressers and barbers have reopened their doors to fix our bad box dyes and buzz cuts. 

But what are the procedures your salon needs to take to ensure that customers and staff feel safe and comfortable during their treatments? Is it compulsory for customers to wear masks? Do you need to operate with a one-way system? Find out the top requirements below.

A full risk assessment

Before reopening your doors to the public, you’ll need to understand the potential risks that currently exist within your hair or beauty salon and how you can eradicate or minimise them. 

You should not reopen without understanding and making the necessary alterations. 

A full risk assessment checklist specific for hair and beauty salons is available here. Examples in your list will include: 

  • Setting a limit on the number of people allowed into your shop at the same time
  • Deciding which member(s) of staff are going to control the door and how they will do this
  • Operating an appointment only system and ensure these are staggered to reduce overlap and unplanned gatherings

Test and Trace

If, unfortunately, someone with COVID-19 attended your salon, they could have infected a number of people. Regardless of whether they show symptoms, all people, including staff and non-customers, that attended the salon on the same day as the infected person need to self-isolate for two weeks.

To enable this, the government requires your salon to collect the information of all of your customers safely and retain that information for 21 days only.

What to consider when collecting customer data:

  • Only collect the minimum details that you need to contact them – A full name and email address is sufficient (you do not need to also collect their telephone number as well)
  • Think about who has access to this personal data– Try to keep it private and secure
  • Think about how you will organise and store this data securely and efficiently 
  • Do not contact customers for reasons other than Test and Trace, without their prior consent 
  • You must erase customer data after 21 days of collection

PPE: What’s needed?

PPE stands for personal protective equipment. It is a generic term that often becomes synonymous with face masks. However, it includes any equipment that is needed by employees to protect their own health and safety, and that of their clients. The level of PPE needed depends on your industry and how much close contact you share with members of the public. 

What does PPE mean for the staff of your salon?

As of the 13th August 2020, the government advised that all hairdressers and beauty salon staff must wear both a visor and type II face mask (not a face covering). 

The main reason for this new change is that those that provide a beauty or health treatment such as hairdressing or facials often stand very close to their client for a prolonged period of time. Therefore a simple face covering is not sufficient to protect both people from the risk of infection. 

What is a type II face mask?

A type II face mask is a surgical face mask that is made from a protective three-ply construction. This gives them a high bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) of 98%. They protect both the customer and service provider from droplets and particles, but not body fluids or blood. 

How often do you need to change your face mask?

You do not have to change your face mask between every new client. The times when you must replace your mask are:

  • If you have removed it to eat or drink 
  • If it becomes visibly unclean 
  • If it becomes moist 
  • If it becomes difficult to breathe through
  • If it becomes loose around your face 

How to wear your visor:

Your visor must cover your forehead and then extend below your chin. Typically it will wrap around the side of your face for extra protection. The aim is to provide a barrier between the practitioner and the client from respiratory droplets caused by sneezing, coughing or speaking, in addition to the type II mask.

What does PPE mean for customers of your salon? 

Another change came in on August 13th that affects clients of hair and beauty salons. It is now compulsory for all customers to also wear a mask when receiving their treatments and entering the premises. 

Masks can be removed, when needed, to access part of the face and head. However, when the practitioner has finished working on this part of the face or head, the customer must resume wearing their mask.

Sanitiser stations

Before entering your salon, all customers must sanitise their hands. To monitor this effectively, you’ll need to have a hand sanitiser station at the entrance of your salon with the relevant signage. It would be also helpful to:

  • Have someone monitor the entrance to advise people to sanitise 
  • Use a sanitiser pump with a foot pedal
  • Have the station as close to the entrance as possible, without becoming a safety hazard or obstacle

Social distancing

Large salons should seat customers at least two metres from one another. However, in smaller salons there may not be the space to keep each client so far apart. In this case, a perspex screen must be installed between chairs,  so that customers are completely shielded from one another. 

Another way to maintain social distancing is to limit the capacity of customers and staff in your salon by staggering and limiting the number of appointments per day. 

When customers are in your salon, you should remind them about social distancing by:

  • Using floor stickers 
  • Having a one-way system in operation 
  • Appropriate signage

As well as the above mandatory steps, you should think about your customers’ and employees’ health and safety at all times. This means:

  • Deep cleaning your premises regularly 
  • Maintaining high levels of cleanliness across all of your surfaces, including your tills, and card machines 
  • Consider going cashless and encouraging customers to pay with contactless where possible 
  • Keep music volumes low, so that staff and customers can communicate with ease while wearing face masks 


With the right risk preparation and support from your customers, we hope to see your hair or beauty salon flourish in the face of adversity, and provide a vital service for your community. 

For more business advice, check out our blog. Or if you’re looking for a way to take card payments safely online or over the phone for your salon, check out our payment gateways.

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