‘Covid Safety’ advice for businesses

The government has released guidance for people providing ‘close contact services’, to be able to open and operate ‘covid safely’.

The guidance is to help hairdressers prepare to reopen safely on 4 July, and for other close contact services such as nail salons to prepare to re-open at a later date.

Some of the key points are as follows:

  • Ensure you have and keep contact details of clients for a period of 21 days to support the NHS Test & Trace System
  • Encourage clients to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the premises or before treatment.
  • The person providing a service (such as hairdressers, because of the period of time spent in close proximity to a person’s face, mouth and nose) should wear further protection in addition to any that they might usually wear. This should take the form of a clear visor that covers the face and provides a barrier between the wearer and the client from respiratory droplets caused by sneezing, coughing or speaking. Visors must fit the user and be worn properly. It should cover the forehead, extend below the chin, and wrap around the side of the face.
  • All premises should ensure that steps are taken to avoid people needing to unduly raise their voices to each other. This includes refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, including if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission.
  • Encourage clients to arrive at the time of their scheduled appointment. Maintain social distancing in waiting areas when clients wait for their appointments. When waiting areas can no longer maintain social distancing, consider moving to a ‘one-in-one-out’ policy.
  • Ask Covid-19 related screening questions of clients before attending for their appointment.  Encourage clients to attend appointments alone.
  • Calculate the maximum number of clients that can reasonably follow social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, is acceptable) and limiting the number of appointments at any one time. Take into account total floorspace as well as likely pinch points and busy areas.
  • Use signage and markings to help staff and clients maintain social distancing as far as possible.
  • When providing close contact services, the nature of the work is such that maintaining social distancing will not usually be possible when actively serving a client. In these circumstances, both employers, employees and the self-employed should do everything they reasonably can to reduce risk.  Mitigating actions include:
    • further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning
    • keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
    • using screens or barriers to separate clients from one another. If the practitioner is wearing a visor, screens will not provide additional protection between the practitioner and the individual
    • using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
    • using a consistent pairing system if workers have to be in close proximity
    • maintaining social distancing between the treatment or service areas, such as client chairs

The above is no substitute to reading the guidance, completing your own risk assessment and implementing measures in accordance with both.  The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/close-contact-services

If you are a hairdressers or barbers preparing to re-open on or about 4 July and you would like a BID branded safety poster to display in your window with some basic safety instructions such as ‘Appointments only, please attend your appointments alone where possible, please follow safety instructions, thank you for your co-operation’, please let me know.

Catherine Price, Blackburn town centre BID Manager, will be sending out a summary of other guidance newly available shortly. 

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