Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): close contact services

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

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 precautionary measures are steps intended to reduce the spread of the virus and help us maintain the good progress we have already made as we move forward to greater normality. This guidance is in place given the nature of services provided in a close contact setting and must be read alongside the safer workplace guidance which lays out the full precautionary measures to be followed.

Although some precautionary measures will remain as legal requirements, others will be encouraged alongside good practice to create safer conditions for staff and customers during the COVID-19 epidemic.

Mandatory measures to reduce the transmission of COVID-19

Face coverings

By law, face coverings must continue to be worn in most indoor public places including retail, restaurants, cafes, bars and public houses, in indoor communal spaces in workplaces and on public transport, unless you are exempt for specific circumstances. See: a full list of the areas you must wear a face covering. For treatments in the mouth/nose area clients must follow the advice laid out below. Individuals who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination are still required to follow the rules on face coverings.

Self-isolation and Test and Protect

Everyone 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.

Anyone working in close contact services should not work at all if they have symptoms or are required to self-isolate. Self-employed practitioners should not have clients to their premises/home for services.

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will still be required to self-isolate for ten days.

Advisory precautionary measures

Get vaccinated 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.

Employers 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 sanitiser and hand-washing facilities
  • regular cleaning of work equipment, chairs and work stations
  • regular cleaning and sanitising 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 distance 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 they only provide services in the safest possible settings. Practitioners should seek to avoid skin-to-skin contact with colleagues and clients 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. However, overuse of gloves leads to contamination of both the user’s gloves and the surrounding environment. Therefore frequent hand decontamination is very important. 

Due to the potential for increased risk of transmission, we also recommend:

  • minimise the time spent in close contact to the client, for example stepping back to have conversations about treatments etc
  • implementing risk reduction controls to minimise hazards and risks. While in the premises 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 handwashing
  • not working in locations where a client/customer or a member of their household is isolating or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
  • limiting workspaces to a single well-ventilated room where possible if a service is being provided to more than one customer/client at the same location, if dealing with more than one client you should look to distance clients as much as possible or ideally taking them at separate time slots and clean down between clients

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