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
Mobile close contact services

Mobile close contact services

This guidance must be followed in addition to the wider close contact services guidance. Mobile close contact services describe services where a practitioner visits their customers/clients to provide services, rather than customers/clients visiting them at a fixed premises which the practitioners owns, rents or otherwise operates from. They include services that are provided in the home of a client/customer, or other locations where such services are requested, for example wedding venues or hotel rooms.

From 26 April 2021, mobile versions of close contact services are permitted to operate in Levels 0 through 3.

As mobile close contact service practitioners may visit multiple clients/customers each day, it is particularly important that every effort is taken to reduce the risk of transmission from one location to another location.

There are different risks associated with working in customers/clients’ homes and in multiple locations and practitioners should follow the additional advice for delivery of mobile services.

  • prior to visiting a location for work, mobile practitioners should clearly establish their expectations with the customer/client regarding the workspace, the services to be delivered, and who will be present during the services
  • practitioners should conduct remote video consultations in advance of treatments as a way to reduce the time spent with the client/customer
  • documentation, client notes and future bookings should be completed once the practitioner has left the premises to minimise contact with the client
  • mobile practitioners should only meet the client/customer they will be working with; however a client/customer’s carer/chaperone/attendant can be present if appropriate, and if physical distancing is maintained from the practitioner
  • practitioners should not work in locations where a client/customer or a member of their household is isolating or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, including:
    • a new continuous cough
    • fever/high temperature
    • loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste
  • workspaces should be limited to a single well-ventilated room where possible with any non-essential items removed. The area should be tidy and clean for arrival, with sufficient space for the service to be provided safely. Ventilation can be provided through an open window. See guidance on ventilation for more information.
  • practitioners should limit their movement in the location to their designated treatment or service area if possible, and should avoid visiting the bathroom unless absolutely necessary
  • practitioners should decline any offer of refreshment but can bring their own with them
  • additional consideration should be given to cleaning and industry best practice. Hand hygiene remains vital and should be followed by both the mobile practitioner and client/customer.  
  • ensure that both practitioners and clients/customers wash their hands regularly especially in relation to treatments where gloves are not appropriate, for example aromatherapy and massage. Alcohol Based Hand Rub (60% - 80% alcohol minimum) should be used regularly where hand washing cannot occur.
  • practitioners should implement risk reduction controls to minimise hazards and risks. While in the premises, practitioners should as far as possible avoid touching surfaces or items that do not belong to them.
  • workspace surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned before and after a service has taken place, ensuring to follow manufacturer’s instructions
  • sheets or coverings that can be disposed of, or safely packaged and washed after use, provide useful protection between the practitioner and surfaces
  • materials and equipment used to provide the service must be brought by the practitioner and appropriately cleaned (and where appropriate, disposed of) before and after use, with linens and towels ideally washed at 60 °C as a minimum
  • equipment that belongs to the client/customer should not be used
  • utensils and equipment should be disinfected at the location when preparing for the close contact service and again before leaving
  • if a service is being provided to more than one customer/client at the same location, utensils and equipment should be disinfected or substituted between customers/clients
  • single use items may be preferable where practical
  • after the treatment or service is completed, items that are to be removed from the premises for cleaning should be double-bagged or placed in a suitably sealed container for transport and, if appropriate, disposal
  • all equipment that a practitioner takes from their own premises should be cleaned regularly, irrespective of whether it has been used or not

Face coverings are a legal requirement within a commercial premises where a good or service is being sold or hired; they should be kept on throughout the treatment or service and not removed for, or during the treatment. Services that require a face covering to be removed should not be offered or performed. More information can be found in close contact services: questions and answers.

Risk assessment

Mobile close contact service practitioners should assess the risk to themselves and to others presented by the services or treatments provided, and put in place measures to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19. In particular, risks associated with carrying out multiple visits in one day should be considered in any risk assessment. Practitioners can find more information on risk assessments when working in other people’s homes on the Healthy Working Lives website. You should also refer to the attached checklist for close contact service business owners as part of a risk assessment.