Do you know the new rules on face coverings and visors?

Published 13th May 2021 by Charlotte Grant-West
Do you know the new rules on face coverings and visors? There has been an update to the guidance on face masks and visors in barbershops and salons in England, these will come into effect from Monday 17 May.

From 17 May barbers and hairdressers will still be legally required to wear a face mask, reports the Hair and Barber Council. But it is also strongly encouraged that both a face mask and a visor are worn.

The Government maintains that all staff offering close contact services, including barbers, should wear a face mask (type 2 surgical), in addition they strongly recommend that a clear visor that covers the face is worn too.

This helps protect customers and staff from respiratory droplets caused by sneezing, coughing, or speaking.

Clients MUST wear face coverings in barbershops and salons, but are allowed to remove it when having a close shave or beard trim!

There are other significant changes to guidance including advice on ventilation, Test and Trace and lateral flow tests for 2021. Read them here.


How to enforce the rule changes for face masks and face coverings in hair salons and barbershops in England

From Saturday 8 August 2020 enforcement measures were introduced for failing to comply with the law to wear face masks and face coverings in hair salons and barbershops unless there is a valid exemption.

Barbershops, hair salons and other premises where face coverings are required are encouraged to take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the law and can refuse entry to anyone who does not have a valid exemption.


Who is exempt from wearing a face mask or face covering in a hair salon or barbershop after 8 August 2020?

The guidance explains there are some circumstances, for health, age or equality reasons, where people are not expected to wear face coverings or face masks.

Hair salons and barbershops will need to be mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings and the reasons for this may not be visible to others.

Clients do not need to wear a face covering if they have a legitimate reason not to. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Young children under the age of 11 (Public Health England does not recommend face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)

  • Not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness, impairment or disability

  • If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause your client severe distress

  • If your client is travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate

  • To avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to your client or others

  • To avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm when the client does not have a face covering with them

  • To drink within the hair salon

  • To take medication

  • If a police officer or other official asks your client to remove their face covering.

  • Your client can ask to remove the face mask if they need to speak to someone who relies on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.

Do clients who are exempt need an official exemption card?

The short answer to this is no. The revised guidance explains that those who have a reason based on age, health or a disability for not wearing a face covering or mask should not be routinely asked to give any written evidence of this.

This means your clients do not need to provide exemption cards to show why they can’t wear a face covering or a mask. No person needs to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about their reason for not wearing a face covering either.

Some people may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering as opposed to having to explain it in front of other clients within the salon.

This could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or even a home-made sign, but this is a personal choice and is not necessary in law.

Click here for the full Government guidance for hair salons and barbershops. 
Charlotte Grant-West

Charlotte Grant-West

Published 13th May 2021

Charlotte oversees the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. With over a decade of experience as a journalist, Charlotte was formerly Editor of Modern Barber and HJ Men, Social Editor at Netmums and Features Writer at Boots Health & Beauty magazine. She loves any products that make her hair bigger and more voluminous, and loves a behind-the-scenes peek at anything hair-related – whether it's a factory tour, BTS on a shoot or backstage at fashion week.

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