Hairdressers and barbers must wear surgical masks from today and not just a plastic visor

HAIRDRESSERS and barbers must wear surgical face masks from today and not just a plastic visor.

Anyone working in "close contact services" – including nail and beauty salons – must now wear a "Type 2" face covering as part of measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

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Hairdressers and barbers reopened on July 4, with employees required to wear a face visor while treating customers.

But health experts have raised concerns in recent weeks that this measure was not enough to prevent transmission of the virus – and pointed to how a covering of the nose or mouth is mandatory on public transport.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), a group of health experts who advise the government on the pandemic, concluded in a July 22 meeting that visors alone were "unlikely to be an effective control for aerosol transmission".

They added: "We recommend that guidance for UK hairdressers and barbers should be strengthened to include wearing of face coverings".

New guidance, updated today, states that a "Type 2" face mask must be worn with a visor.

It adds: "Type II face masks are not PPE but will provide a physical barrier to minimise contamination of the mouth and nose when used correctly.

"Ensure you are hydrated before putting a mask on."


Rules also require workers to change the mask if it becomes moist,damaged or difficult to breathe through.

Reacting to the new guidance, the government said it "will help protect the customer and staff from respiratory droplets caused by sneezing, coughing, or speaking."

The move represents a notable U-turn from the government, as Downing Street had previously claimed that wearing a face covering was "marginally beneficial", and the evidence it would protect customers "is weak and the effect is likely to be small".

It comes after a study conducted in the US found that two hairdressers infected with the coronavirus who chose to wore a face covering did not pass on the bug to 139 customers.

Close contact services pose particular risks for transmission, as eyebrow and eyelash services require lots of time to be spent close to the face where splashes and droplets from the nose and mouth may be present.



Boris Johnson finally gave the green light yesterday for many beauty salons to resume "close contact services" this weekend following five months of closure during lockdown.

As well as hairdressers and beauty salons, this includes tattoo, tanning and massage parlours, and dress fitters and tailors.

Beauty salons re-opened on July 13th and were able to offer nail appointments – but close contact services were off the menu in accordance with government health guidelines.

However, men have been allowed to get their beards trimmed, prompting allegations of sexism.

Beauty salons were due to fully reopen on August 1 but the date was pushed back after local lockdowns identified more cases in the UK than had been seen in weeks.

The last minute announcement left Brits racing to book appointments for waxing, eyelash extensions, eyebrow threading and facials, with some added to a long waiting list.

One frustrated customer tweeted: "A waiting list of 150 people for this salon yh I’m definitely not getting my hair done before my birthday."

And another added: "Beauty salons can offer close contact services again from Saturday…why is this being announced on a Thursday night? Do they think appointments just come out of thin air".

Businesses in areas which have seen restrictions reimposed due to a spike in cases, such as Greater Manchester, will not see beauty salons fully reopen.

Mr Johnson said earlier this month that the Government must not be complacent over the threat of the virus and needed to act as the number of infections was "creeping up".

The news comes despite the fact that the UK's chief medical officer Chris Whitty warned that the UK had probably "reached the limits" of what could be reopened.

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