Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): close contact services

Information for people who provide close contact services such as hairdressers, barbers and beauticians on working safely during coronavirus.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): close contact services


Hairdressers and barbers permitted to open from 5 April must, by law, operate on an appointment-basis only, within Level 4, offering appointments for a specified time. This additional public health measure is designed to reduce interaction between households and help with contact tracing, in light of the significant challenge posed by the new variants of coronavirus we are dealing with.

Businesses must operate in a way that protects both customers and staff. It is for businesses to decide how to offer appointments – there is no requirement for a formal or expensive electronic booking system although appointments should be made in advance. Businesses should make clear to customers how they can make an appointment and should dissuade customers from entering the premises without an appointment. We also strongly encourage recording customer details in line with our guidance on contact tracing.

Waiting room use

It is not recommended that the waiting room be used unless it is possible for clients/customers to maintain the required distance. It is strongly recommended that clients/customers be encouraged to arrive at the time of their appointment and no earlier. Where an early arrival occurs, clients/customers should be asked to wait in their car or outside if it is not possible for them to maintain the required distance within the premises.

Where a waiting room is used procedures will require to be in place for the regular cleaning of hand contact surfaces such as arms of chairs, tables etc.

Chaperones/attendants/family members/children

It is recommended that the number of people on the premises be kept to a minimum and that this should only be those who are there to receive treatment. The more people who are on site, the greater the number of contacts and the higher the risk. If the client/customer makes you aware in advance that they will be bringing a chaperone or attendant with them you can ensure arrangements are in place to maintain physical distancing between them and others within the premises i.e. move chairs to further increase the distance.

A chaperone or attendant can be either a family member, friend, carer, care worker, translator or interpreter that assists the client/customer regularly with any health or social/religious requirements.


Toilets can continue to be used in a managed way and provided that hand contact surfaces are cleaned between uses. It is also recommended that, where possible, the frequency at which mechanical ventilation operates within toilet facilities be increased. It is important to remember that some clients/customers may require to use the facilities for medical reasons, and hand sanitiser should always be offered to clients/customers before and after use.

Customer drinks and refreshments

No drinks should be offered to clients/customers when on the premises. Clients/customers may bring their own drinks with them if needed and may temporarily remove a face covering to drink from their own container, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others where possible.


It is recommended that all unnecessary hand contact surfaces be removed from the premises and that clients/customers be advised to bring their own reading materials with them and take them with them when they leave.

Ventilation between treatments

All treatment rooms and spaces are different. It is the practitioners responsibility to ensure adequate and appropriate ventilation which is key to reducing viral transmission. Advice on ventilation can be found on our website. Health Protection Scotland has produced contact tracing guidance that contains information on close contact in non-healthcare settings. This suggests that prolonged periods of contact between 1-2 meters whether or not contact is face-to-face is defined at 15 minutes. Treatment rooms should be adequately ventilated during and between treatments. If this is not possible, it should be considered whether that area is suitable to be used.

Treatments (including the High Risk Zone)


Treatments in the High Risk Zone

The high risk zone is defined as the area in front of the face where splashes and droplets from the nose and mouth may be present, which can pose a hazard. 

Considerations given to providing treatments in this area could include; treating from the side or behind the head with the client seated and treating with the client lying on their side or in the prone position that minimise the time being spent working on and in the high-risk zone. Treatments should not be performed that require the client’s face covering to be removed.

Where additional controls cannot be implemented, treatments should not be offered.

It should be noted that if, at a later date, the client is identified as a case who was infectious at the time of treatment, the individual performing the treatment will be considered a close contact and required to self-isolate regardless of the control measures implemented.

As treatments must be applied from the side or behind the head and the client’s face covering should not be removed, it is expected that only eye make-up can be provided when close contact services are able to operate. This includes semi-permanent make-up.

Time in the High Risk Zone

There are no current time limits on treatments, though we recommend that appointments be kept as short as is practically possible to do the treatment in order to reduce the risk of transmission. Guidance regarding the recommended time spent in the high risk zone must also be adhered to.

Health Protection Scotland has produced contact tracing guidance that contains information on close contact in non-healthcare settings. This suggests that ‘prolonged periods’ could be:

  • no amount of time: if face-to-face contact is at  1 metre or less; (i.e. in effect this should not be permitted)
  • 1 minute: if contact is 1 metre or less, but does not involve face-to-face contact


  • 15 minutes: if contact is between 1 and 2 metres, whether or not contact is face-to-face

Treatments should not be provided in the area covered by a face covering – even if the client is exempt from wearing a face covering and that area is exposed. The limitation on the provision of any treatment is the ability to provide it from the side or from behind the head with the client seated or with the client lying on their side or in the prone position. If you can provide the treatment from the side or from behind the head you should reduce the time spent in the high risk zone as much as possible.  

Treatments out with the High Risk Zone

Treatments that require a facial steamer to be used should not be offered at this time as the face covering should not be removed.

Practitioners do not have to ask clients to wash their hair in advance of treatments unless this is normal practice for them.