The UK is currently operating under a three-tier system to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
From 00.01 on Wednesday, new areas will be moved to tier 3, including the whole of London, plus parts of Essex and Hertfordshire. There will be further announcements about any other tier reallocation on Wednesday.
You can find out what tier your local area is in using the government postcode checker here. Or use the government list of regions, also available online.
So, what does this mean for hairdressers and beauty salons? Here’s everything you need to know.
Can hairdressers and beauty salons open after lockdown?
The government confirmed that, as part of its Covid winter plan, the “personal care” sector can reopen.
The news will come as a huge relief for hair and beauty salon owners, who feared they would miss out on vital custom in the run up to Christmas if the lockdown was extended.
The government website states that services permitted to reopen from this date include hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, nail salons, spas and beauty services, massage parlours and tanning salons.
Are the rules for salons different in each tier?
No. While some measures are different for each tier, the government has confirmed that the rules regarding hair salons and personal care businesses are the same across all regions.
This means that all close contact services can resume in a Covid-secure manner, regardless of what tier they are in.
Why were hairdressers and salons forced to close?
Hairdressers and beauty salons were forced to temporarily close in March for the duration of the first lockdown before temporarily opening their doors over the summer.
However, they had to shut once again in November as restrictions were reintroduced across following an increase in coronavirus cases.
The government made the decision to close hairdressers, barbers and other “close contact services” due to the proximity between customers and employees, arguing that social distancing is not possible here.
How safe is it to visit a salon?
When beauty businesses were allowed to reopen on 4 July, a host of extra safety measures were put in place to help prevent the further spread of Covid-19.
Now, all close contact businesses are required to keep a temporary record of clients for 21 days and must operate an appointment-only system.
As social distancing is not possible, clients and hairdressers must both wear face masks or a visor. Similarly, communal magazines are also no longer on display and contactless for all payments are encouraged.
Dr Robert Dingwall, professor of sociology at Nottingham Trent University previously told The Independent: “Hairdressers do not spend a lot of time face-to-face with customers, the interaction is through the mirror normally. In a sense the customer’s best protection is having confidence in the standards of these places which are used to being sterile anyway.”