Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): close contact services

Last updated: 13 Jan 2022 - see all updates
Published: 13 Aug 2021

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

Coronavirus (COVID-19): close contact services
Key mitigations

Key mitigations

Precautionary measures and good practice

The safer businesses and workplaces guidance lays out the full precautionary measures to be followed while observing the most recent public health measures set out in regulations. The precautionary measures are steps intended to reduce the spread of the virus.

With the arrival of the Omicron variant, businesses and individuals that provide close contact services should strengthen compliance with current protection measures. This means that businesses should: 

  • follow this guidance and any industry guidance that may apply
  • support working from home where reasonably practical
  • continue to conduct and regularly review risk assessments
  • implement measures identified within risk assessments
  • maximise good ventilation
  • encourage everyone to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene and surface cleaning
  • encourage everyone to comply with face covering regulations unless exempt
  • follow and support workers to follow self-isolation guidance for both those displaying symptoms and those contacted by Test and Protect
  • encourage staff to take a test twice weekly and on every occasion they intend to mix socially with people from other households. This might mean testing more regularly
  • continue to work with staff, or staff representatives, on health and safety matters. Staff with no union representation can seek advice and assistance from the STUC and Scottish Hazards
  • help staff to understand the steps they and their organisation can take to prevent COVID-19 spreading in the workplace
  • take steps to ensure staff and visitors keep a safe distance from each other in all areas of the workplace
  • consider available resources to support the mental health of staff whether working from home or in the office or elsewhere

Mandatory measures to reduce the transmission of COVID-19

Physical distancing

Those responsible for the provision of close contact services must take reasonable measures to minimise the incidence and spread of coronavirus on their premises. This should include an assessment of what protection measures to put in place, for example measures which limit close face to face interaction and maintain hygiene such as:

  • changing the layout of premises by reconfiguring waiting areas, treatment rooms and relaxation spaces (including the relocation of furniture and workstations), to ensure clients can keep a safe distance from each other and from staff. The World Health Organisation recommends at least one metre
  • controlling the use of shared facilities such as toilets and kitchens
  • controlling the use of, or access to, any part of the premises, including but not limited to, entrances, passageways, stairs and lifts
  • installing barriers or screens
  • providing, or requiring the use of, personal protective equipment
  • providing information to those entering or working at the premises about how to minimise the risks

From 27 December 2021, it is a legal requirement that those responsible for the operation of spa pools, hydrotherapy facilities, saunas and steam rooms must take measures to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that -

  • a distance of at least one metre is maintained between any persons on its premises
  • persons are admitted in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain that distance
  • a distance of at least one metre is maintained between any persons waiting to enter its premises

The one metre requirement does not apply in circumstances where

  • two or more members of the same household or of a group formed of more than one household are attending the premises together
  • a carer and a person assisted by the carer attend together
  • a child under 12 years of age and any other person attend together

Self-isolation and Test and Protect

Everyone working in close contact services should continue to follow Test and Protect rules and guidance which means you should stay at home if you have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.

For information on self-isolation and supporting employees with Covid symptoms please see the safer workplaces guidance.

Advisory precautionary measures

Get vaccinated and boosted when offered.

Support staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s offered to them and encourage appointment uptake.


By taking measures to increase the volume of outside air entering a building, such as opening windows, doors or vents, you can help minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19 to colleagues and customers.

Businesses, or those in charge of premises, should identify poorly-ventilated areas in their premises and take steps to improve air flow.

A range of guidance has been developed to help businesses, employers and employees understand what good ventilation is which includes Scottish Government ventilation guidance and the Health and Safety Executive guidance on ventilation and air conditioning during COVID-19.

Good hand hygiene and surface cleaning

Good hygiene measures are key workplace-specific measures to create a safe working environment. These include, for example:

  • providing access to alcohol based hand rub and hand-washing facilities and signage to encourage regular hand hygiene
  • signage to encourage good cough etiquette
  • regular cleaning of work equipment, chairs and work stations
  • regular cleaning of break out areas

Good practice

Even though the law has changed it’s important people keep thinking about how the virus can be transmitted. We encourage you to keep a distance of at least one metre or more where you can and to think about how best to use the space available.

Practitioners should assess their practice for all services they deliver to ensure that they only provide services in the safest possible settings. Practitioners should seek to avoid skin-to-skin contact with colleagues and clients/customers if it is not crucial for the service being provided.

Gloves provide a barrier where there is anticipated contact with blood or body fluids and should continue to be used for any services where this is a risk as in usual practice. To avoid cross-contamination of gloves and the surrounding environment, frequent hand decontamination is still very important. 

Due to the potential for increased risk of transmission within close contact settings, we also recommend:

  • not working in locations where a client/customer or a member of their household is isolating or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
  • following appropriate face covering guidance at all times
  • implementing risk reduction controls to minimise hazards and risks. While in the premises clients/customers should, as far as possible, avoid touching surfaces or items that do not relate to their treatment
  • for mobile practitioners, in addition to the above please remember the risk of transmission still exists and that as you move between premises you should take action to reduce the risk of transmission including equipment cleaning and hand hygiene and consideration of ventilation in an area
  • not working in locations where a client/customer or a member of their household is isolating or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19

First published: 13 Aug 2021 Last updated: 13 Jan 2022 -