Salon Covid rules in England to change
The UK government has confirmed that England will enter Step 4 of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday 19th July, meaning that many of the current restrictions and legal requirements for beauty and hair businesses will come to an end.
From 19th July most legal restrictions to control COVID-19 will be lifted in England. In a salon or business sense, this means that you will not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with, there will be no limits on the number of people in the salon at one time, and face coverings will no longer be required by law in any setting.
Government advice is that "wearing a face covering will reduce your risk and the risk to others, where you come into contact with people you don't normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces."
‘Working Safely' guidance is being updated to provide examples of sensible precautions that can be taken to reduce risk in salons and spas, which should be taken into account when preparing risk assessments already required under health and safety rules.
NHS Test and Trace will remain in operation, and the government is encouraging businesses to still display QR codes for clients to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, although from 19th July this will no longer be a legal requirement.
Employers will still have a legal duty to manage the risk of COVID-19 to employees and clients. To do this, carry out a health and safety risk assessment including the risk of COVID-19, and take reasonable steps to mitigate identified risks, which the government suggests includes:
- Cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly
- Identifying poorly ventilated areas and taking steps to improve air flow
- Ensuring that staff and clients who are unwell do not attend the salon or spa
- Communicating to staff and customers the measures you have put in place
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also issued advice on making your workplace COVID-secure during the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 testing and self-isolation
By law, anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, must still self-isolate at home immediately and get a PCR test. You should make your clients aware that if they are isolating, they must not attend appointments in the salon. If you operate on a mobile basis, you must not visit a client in their home if they are self-isolating.
The 10-day isolation period starts from the day symptoms started or the day your test was taken if you do not have symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms are:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
Individuals must also self-isolate if told to do so by NHS Test and Trace, regardless of your vaccination status, and you could be fined if you do not.
In addition to the easing of legal restrictions however, the government has issued guidance to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission:
- Meet in well-ventilated areas where possible, such as outdoors or indoors with windows open
- Wear a face covering where you come into contact with people you don't normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces
- Wash your hands with soap and water or using hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze.
- Stay at home if you are unwell to reduce the risk of passing on other illnesses
- Consider individual risks, such as clinical vulnerabilities and vaccination status
Although COVID-19 legal restrictions are to be lifted in England, it's important to recognise that the threat from the virus has not gone away and individuals are encouraged to act responsibly in relation to minimising risk to themselves and others.
As always, you must check local guidelines with your Local Authority, ensure your business operates in a COVID-secure way in line with government guidelines, and continue to keep your clients, staff and yourself safe.
For full details, read the government's guidance: ‘Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)' guidance for close contact services'.
Dates for the lifting of COVID-19 regulations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are yet to be confirmed, and you should therefore continue to operate within each region's requirements.