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
Key mitigations

Key mitigations

The new, more transmissible variants of COVID-19 mean that it is essential to continue to rigorously adhere to effective mitigations which include physical distancing, ventilation, face coverings and good hygiene practices.

Sources of background noise like, music, and television should also be assessed and lowered to ensure clients and practitioners do not need to raise voices.

Further sector specific information surrounding the below mitigations can be found later in this guidance.


The provision of fresh air into indoor environments is essential to reducing the risk of the spread of COVID-19. Taking measures to increase the volume of outside air entering a building, such as opening windows, doors or vents, can help minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19 to staff and customers. The Scottish Government has developed ventilation guidance to support the mixing of individuals safely in indoor domestic and commercial properties where this is necessary.

Ventilation should be considered as part of a hierarchy of risk controls approach. These include:

  • effective fresh air ventilation, working alongside face coverings, distancing and enhanced hygiene regimes
  • restricting or reducing duration of activities indoors
  • room layout
  • utilising rooms with good ventilation and focusing on increasing in those without
  • use of face coverings should be considered alongside ventilation for reducing far-field aerosol transmission risks
  • factoring in the use of suitable air cleaning devices to enhance indoor air quality

A well ventilated space reduces the concentration of viral load in the air, reducing the risk of transmission of the virus. Evidence to date suggests that poorly ventilated spaces pose the highest risk, so it is recommended that mitigation measures focus on those spaces where ventilation is absent or inadequate. It is important to note that air cleaning devices do not provide additional fresh air into a space. Specialist ventilation engineering advice should be sought prior to investment/installation of these devices.

Face coverings

Regulations came into effect on 10 July 2020 that made it mandatory for face coverings to be worn in all retail settings, with additional regulations from 9 October 2020 that made it mandatory for face coverings to be worn in storage and distribution facilities, and for face coverings to be worn in communal staff areas in both retail and storage and distribution facilities. There is more advice on face coverings, in particular within close contact settings, in our wider face coverings guidance.

Considerations for staff

Where a face covering may need to be temporarily removed, such as in staff rest areas when eating/drinking, facilities, such as physical distancing or perspex screens, should be provided to manage the risk this could pose. Where staff have concerns about wearing face coverings this should be resolved in discussion between staff and managers. Face coverings should not be removed for the purposes of any treatment.

Hand hygiene

COVID-19 is spread when respiratory secretions from an infected person enters the mouth, nose or eyes of another. One way in which this can happen is by touching your eyes, nose or mouth with contaminated hands. It is therefore important to avoid touching the face with unwashed hands. Employers should promote good hand hygiene for all staff/visitors/service users and ensure there are sufficient hand washing facilities and provision of alcohol based hand rub (ABHR) at key areas such as entry and exit points. WHO guidelines on hand hygiene in healthcare state that alcohol solutions containing 60-80% alcohol are most effective.

Physical distancing

Clients and practitioners should ensure they always maintain a distance of 2 metres from others. As close contact services cannot be provided from a 2m distance, these services can continue to take place (provided your business operates in a Level that allows you to open.)

Businesses should ensure that at least 2-metre physical distancing is applied to all parts of a workplace, including staff canteens, entrances and exits, break rooms, smoking areas, and similar settings.

While screens/barriers may provide a degree of comfort for clients/customers and act as an additional control, where clients/customers are less than 2 metres apart it is likely that they will still be considered a contact in the event that someone in the salon tests positive for COVID-19. In these instances it is likely that anyone within less than 2 metres of that individual will be required to self-isolate for a period of 10 days.


Practitioners should ensure regular detergent cleaning schedules and procedures are in place using a product which is active against bacteria and viruses and following the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution, application and contact times for all detergents and disinfectants. They should also ensure regular (at least twice daily) cleaning of commonly touched objects and surfaces (telephones, keyboards, door handles, desks, counter tops etc.). Health Protection Scotland (HPS) have provided COVID-19 information and guidance for general (non-healthcare) settings.


We have published guidance for the purposes of calculating capacity. This guidance provides a draft methodology for calculating a physical distance based capacity (PDBC) limit in public settings including - but not limited to - businesses, places of worship and public events.

This is draft guidance and may be amended following engagement with stakeholders.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Health Protection Scotland (HPS) have provided COVID-19 information and guidance for general (non-healthcare) settings. The HPS guidance also offers advice on the use of PPE, confirming workplaces should use PPE consistent with local policies and in line with measures justified by a risk assessment.

Test and Protect and contact tracing

Contact tracing is another crucial part of Test and Protect. Depending on what sector you’re in, you may need to collect customer contact details to allow NHS Scotland’s contact tracing teams to identify and support anyone exposed to outbreaks of coronavirus.

For example, close contact services should be collecting customer contact details. All data must be collected in a safe, secure and legally compliant manner. This information may then be requested by Test and Protect so they can respond to outbreaks of coronavirus.

All employers will need to be familiar with our Test and Protect advice for employers, which outlines how to support employees who are required to self-isolate. More information on Test and Protect can be found on our website

We strongly urge all premises and providers with the means to sign up and use the free Test and Protect ‘Check-in Scotland’ digital service. All guidance, a user toolkit and to register to generate you unique QR poster can be found at: Check-in Scotland -

Please remember to always offer an alternative method for the collection of contact details for those who wish not to use digital means. This may be using pen and paper.

Protect Scotland is a voluntary app that is an additional part of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect service. Having the app should never be a requirement for any workplace. 

The app complements but does not replace manual contact tracing. It enhances contact tracing and quickly alerts app users that are at risk as they have come into close contact (less than 2m for 15 minutes or more) with an app user that has since tested positive for COVID-19.

Further information about the contact tracing app for employers, workers and customers is available.