The government is slowly revealing its plan to get people back to work and we are sure you are all monitoring this closely day by day. While not specific guidelines for Spas, Salons or Hairdressers is yet released you will still have to follow the general guidelines. A lot of it may seem like ‘common sense’ but it’s always best to be prepared. Below we have detailed some things you could implement within your business that tie into the government guidelines.

Each salon will need to assess and manage the risks of COVID-19 for both staff and clients. As employers, you have a legal responsibility to protect your team and clients from risk to their health and safety. You need to think about all the risks they face and minimise them as much as possible.

Before opening, carry out a risk assessment of your salon. This will help you to identify sensible measures to control the risks in your salon. If you have fewer than five team members, then there is no need for you to write anything down as part of your risk assessment. Your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to. There are interactive tools available to support you from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

There’s no I in Team!

In many cases you will have a team who are involved in the day to day running of the salon. Have a team meeting (online or over the phone) and go over everything you need to do to not only make your clients safe but the team as well. Involving them in making decisions shows that you take their health and safety seriously.

In every workplace, these steps must be followed:

  • Increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning
  • You must make every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government (keeping people 2m apart wherever possible)
  • Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full – which is impossible with stylist/therapist and client – businesses should take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission

Further mitigating actions include:

  • Increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning – make hand sanitizer available throughout your salon for staff and clients!
  • Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
  • Using screens, barriers or cloth coverings to distance people from each other
  • Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
  • Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others)

Vulnerable employees

In your assessment you should have particular regard to whether the people doing the work are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

Clinically vulnerable individuals, who are at higher risk of severe illness (for example, people with some pre-existing conditions), have been asked to take extra care in observing social distancing and should be helped to work from home, either in their current role or in an alternative role. For individuals who cannot work from home, they should be offered the option of the safest available on site roles, enabling them to stay 2m away from others. If they have to spend time within 2m of others, you should carefully assess whether this involves an acceptable level of risk. Particular attention should also be paid to people who live with clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.

Social Distancing!

You must maintain 2m social distancing wherever possible, including while arriving at and departing from work, while in work and when travelling between sites. Social distancing applies to all parts of the salon:

  • Entrances and exits
  • Break rooms
  • Retail areas
  • Washbasins
  • Waiting areas etc.

Steps to be considered:

  • Staggering arrival and departure times at work to reduce crowding into and out of the workplace
  • Using markings and introducing one-way flow at entry and exit points
  • Providing hand sanitizer at reception and on work stations
  • Don’t allow crowding at waiting areas – if large enough you can social distance chairs, or remove them altogether to allow a couple of people to stand 2m apart should they need to wait a few minutes
  • Create signage to remind both staff and clients to follow social distancing whilst in your premises
  • Regulating use of high traffic areas in-salon
  • Ask clients to pay with card only


  • Workstations should allow your staff to maintain social distancing wherever possible – so only every other styling station/nail bar chair etc.
  • Stations should be assigned to one individual as much as possible. If they need to be shared, they should be shared by the smallest possible number of people

Steps to be considered:

  • Review the layouts in your salon to allow staff to work 2m apart from each other
  • Using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep to a 2m distance
  • Using screens to create a physical barrier between people – we know of nail bars that are having such screens fitted – this is optional and not a must!
  • Staggering break times to reduce pressure on the staff break rooms or places to eat
  • Using safe outside areas for breaks where possible
  • Considering use of social distance marking for other common areas such as toilets, waiting areas and reception where queues typically form

Managing client numbers

  • Defining the number of customers that can reasonably follow 2m social distancing within your salon – take into account the total floor space as well as likely pinch points and busy areas
  • Limiting the number of customers in-salon overall and in any particular congestion areas
  • Encourage clients to come alone to their appointment, unless they need specific assistance
  • Reminding clients who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and that they need to follow your salon’s social distancing guidelines
  • Look at how clients walk through your salon and see how you could adjust this to reduce congestion and contact between customers, for example, queue management.
  • Using outside premises for queuing where available and safe
  • Stagger appointment arrival times if possible so you don’t have an influx of clients all arriving at the same time

Make sure your clients know what is expected of them before they come for their appointment:

  • Email your clients with your salon rules and expectations for clients, for example: payment by card only, come alone to your appointment unless you need assistance, turn up on time to stop waiting areas getting congested (or be aware that you may have to wait outside upon arrival), use hand sanitization at reception before taking your seat etc.
  • Provide clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to clients on arrival, for example with signage and visual aids

Hygiene and sanitization

You must make sure that your salon is clean, sanitized and ready to reopen!

Steps to be considered:

  • Workstations will need to be fully cleaned between clients!
  • Tools, objects and surfaces that are touched regularly such as reception desks, trolleys, coffee machines, hairstyling and beauty tools and machines need to be sanitized and cleaned throughout the day – with most being cleaned between clients!
  • Using signs and posters to build awareness of good hand washing technique, the need to increase hand washing frequency, avoid touching your face and to cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely
  • Providing hand sanitizer in multiple locations throughout the salon – ask clients to sanitize their hands upon arrival
  • Setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing is achieved as much as possible – you could put up signs ensuring clients that your toilets are cleaned on a regular basis, and you could even have Dettol wipes or spray available in the toilet should clients want to use these before using the bathroom
  • Enhanced cleaning for busy areas
  • Provide more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection
  • Provide paper towels in the bathrooms
  • Limiting customer handling of products, for example, through different display methods, new signage or rotation of high-touch stock
  • Decide on how frequently you need to clean the work area and equipment, for example cleaning at the end of each use if equipment is shared between people or between shift changeovers


PPE and Face Coverings

A face covering can be very simple and may be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible – salons fall in this category where staff and clients come in close contact. The cloth covering needs to cover your mouth and nose. It is not the same as a facemask, such as the surgical masks or respirators used by health and care workers. Some salons are having these masks made to suit their branding and uniforms.

Within the salon environment, face coverings should not be seen as a replacement for the other ways of managing risk, including minimising time spent in contact, using fixed teams and working shifts, and increasing hand and surface washing. These other measures remain the best ways of managing risk in the workplace and government would therefore not expect to see employers relying on face coverings as risk management for the purpose of their health and safety assessments.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer before putting a face covering on, and after removing it
  • When wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands
  • Continue to wash your hands regularly
  • Change and wash your face covering daily – if you are having them made especially, make enough to cover daily washes for your staff
  • If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it properly

Shift patterns

As the number of clients within the salon will be limited, you will need to reduce the number of team members within the salon – possibly implementing shift patterns if your salon is small.

Steps to be considered:

  • As far as possible, where workers are split into teams or shift groups, fixing these teams or shift groups so that where contact is unavoidable, this happens between the same people
  • Identifying areas where people have to directly pass things to each other and find ways to remove direct contact such as by using drop-off points or transfer zones


Items raised in this post are by no means all that is available and you may find that some things work better than others for your business and staff. The health and safety of your clients and staff should always take a priority but now more than ever. Together we will all get through this.


Back To Work: Salons, Spas and Hairdressers
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