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Guidelines for reopening close-contact businesses following COVID-19 in England

By Jessie Caldwell Guidelines for reopening close-contact businesses following COVID-19 in England

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on 23 June 2020 that a number of UK businesses will be allowed to re-open from 4th July. Among these businesses are pubs, restaurants, and some close-contact services like hairdressers. Leisure facilities like outdoor gyms, parks, cinemas, libraries and places of worship will also be allowed to open from this date.

  • Close-contact services include:
  • Hairdressing
  • Barbershops
  • Beauty and nail bars
  • Makeup
  • Tattoo and spray tanning studios
  • Spas
  • Sports and massage therapy
  • Well being and holistic locations
  • Dress fitters
  • Tailors
  • Fashion designers

All of the above are permitted to be open from 4 July 2020 (some from 15 June) except beauty and nail bars, makeup, tattoo and spray tanning studios, spas, sports and massage therapy and well being and holistic locations. Those who are not yet permitted to open will follow similar guidance when they are permitted to reopen.

While these changes are welcomed by many who have been required to close their businesses because of COVID-19, there is also uncertainty as to how to operate safely in order to ensure that there is no return of a 'second wave'. Below you will find a summary of both general and industry-specific guidelines, current as of 24 June 2020. For further information, please consult gov.uk.

5 steps to working safely

These guidelines should be followed by ALL industries as applicable:

  1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
    1. Follow HSE guidance
    2. Consult with workers or trade unions
    3. Share results of your risk assessment with your workforce
  2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures
    1. Provide guidance on proper handwashing and hygiene
    2. Provide sanitiser around the workplace and in washrooms
    3. Regularly clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched
    4. Enhance cleaning for busy or high traffic areas
    5. Provide paper towels or electric dryers for drying hands
  3. Encourage working from home
    1. Take all reasonable steps to help your employees work from home, as applicable. This includes providing equipment, access to work systems and looking after their physical and mental wellbeing
  4. Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible, and 1m where not feasible
    1. Put up signs to remind workers and visitors to social distance
    2. Avoid sharing workstations
    3. Use markings like floor tape to help keep 2m distance
    4. Arrange one-way traffic where possible
    5. Provide services as 'appointment only' where possible
  5. Where 2m distance is not possible, manage risk
    1. Decide if the activity is necessary for the business to operate
    2. Keep the activity time as short as possible
    3. Use screens or barriers to separate
    4. Work back-to-back or side-to-side when possible
    5. Stagger arrival and departure times

Guidance for close-contact services

Those in close contact services are advised to follow the 5 steps to working safely and follow additional precautions, such as:

To keep your workers safe:

  • Ensure workers and clients do not attend the premises if they are unwell
  • Provide practitioners with visors or screens, especially when working in close proximity for an extended period of time
  • Do not perform any services that require the practitioner to be within the 'highest risk zone' of the client (in front of the face, mouth, and nose) for extended periods of time
  • Follow any advice set out by your trade association or other notable bodies in your sector
  • Allow administrative staff to work from home, where possible
  • If workers need to be in close proximity to one another, use consistent pairing
  • Stagger break times
  • Encourage workers to bring their own food and snack and not leave site during their shift

To keep clients and visitors safe:

  • Keep a record of all clients and their contact information for a period of at least 21 days following contact. This will assist with NHS Test and Trace
  • Take steps to ensure that no one should need to raise their voice to another person. This may include ensuring that music is kept to a reasonable volume
  • Encourage clients to use sanitiser or wash their hands before treatment
  • Calculate the maximum number of clients that can maintain social distancing at any point in time and do not allow more appointments than this number
  • Ask clients to attend on their own, where possible
  • Communicate your guidelines with clients before they arrive and have them posted throughout the facility
  • Use a one-way flow where possible and ensure any expectations are clearly marked
  • Queue outdoors where possible
  • Set up waiting areas to accommodate social distancing, and disinfect often
  • Work with neighbouring businesses to ensure your queuing procedures do not overlap
  • Encourage your visitors to wear a mask or face covering
  • Avoiding overrunning or overlapping appointments and contacting clients virtually to let them know when they are ready to be seen, where possible
  • Use disposable items (gloves, cups, etc.) where possible

These guidelines are for England, and may differ from those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As guidelines develop, consult gov.uk for the most up to date information.


Jessie Caldwell

Digital Marketing and Events Specialist A Florida native enjoying life in the rainiest city in the UK. Lover of bouldering, drinker of pink gin, and watcher of Friends.