Hairdressers and salons have been closed to the public since March 24. The government gave hairdressers the green light to reopen for retail services on June 15, offering ‘click and collect’ for products, but services such as haircuts and colour treatments can’t resume until July 4 ‘at the very earliest’. We can reveal the risk assessment each salon will have to undertake before reopening doors to the public. Up until now, hairdressers and beauty salons have been waiting on a set of government guidelines to be issued, in order for them to safely reopen.
A senior government source said, “It is important to keep in mind once the guidance is finalised it will be designed to provide a practical framework for businesses to interpret and implement in a way that is appropriate for them. It is not prescriptive and does not need to be followed in all circumstances, but should be interpreted for the needs of the specific businesses following the undertaking of a risk assessment.”
Salons up and down the country have been eagerly anticipating the government’s guidelines to reopen, which have been delayed over the course of the past three weeks - despite Boris Johnson’s plans to reopen the beauty industry alongside the hospitality industry on Saturday July 4. And we can reveal that although the guidelines are lengthy, they will not be prescriptive.
“The guidelines will of course give some suggestions, but they are broad and people need to take responsibility for their businesses,” says Millie Kendall, chief executive of the British Beauty Council, who has been consulting with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on hairdressers and salons reopening. “Like every business in the UK we’re having to carry out some forms of risk assessment.
“If you’ve got a tiny salon with only two chairs, you might not put screens up, and just wear visors. If you’re doing certain treatments you might wear a mask and not a visor. Every salon is going to be different - despite many salons thinking the government will give them a set of guidelines that say you have to do ‘a, b and c’, it won’t work like that.”
The risk assessment provided by the Health & Safety Executive includes staggering arrival times, keeping the number of people in each ‘work area’ to a minimum, and having staff work side-by-side rather than face-to-face. Some London boroughs are even dropping off risks assessments to small businesses.
Up until now risk assessments have only been legally required if you have five or more employees, but that will now change, says Marian Newman, who is on the advisory board for the British Beauty Council. “Many people are desperate to get the official guidelines but Boris is not going to give any specifics. Many salon owners will be disappointed with the guidelines when they are released as they're expecting too much.”
Since retail reopened on June 15, some local authorities have been visiting retailers to ensure their risk assessments are up to scratch, which Kendall and Newman both think will happen once hairdressers and beauty salons can reopen.
“Local authorities need to be policing to make sure salons have all their risk assessments in place, and if salons aren’t up to scratch they have to close until they are,” says Newman. “The industry will likely have more of a focus because we’re close contact and with customers for more than 15 minutes, which is particularly important post-lockdown.”
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