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
Opening and face coverings

Opening and face coverings

Operating from your home/garden

Practitioners who operate within a personal dwelling that is self-contained and separate from the communal living area are permitted to open.

Face coverings

Clients/customers and staff need to wear face coverings (unless exempt). 

Under Schedule 7 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, as amended, subject to some limited exceptions, any person including staff and clients/customers must wear a face covering, at all times including where the client is lying face down in the prone position,  in a location used for the retail sale of goods or services – including clinics, salons and practitioners/clients homes. Practitioners and clients are encouraged to refer to current face-covering guidance for further information.

 Further to this, your risk assessment under the Health and Safety at Work legislation must cover measures to ensure the aerosol/droplet transmission hazard is controlled. A face covering is a practical measure to control this risk. If an exemption applies and staff cannot wear a face covering the business / third sector organisation must implement another control which achieves the same effect.

Face shields/visors do not constitute an adequate face covering for the purposes of meeting your obligation under Schedule 7 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, as amended. Face shields or visors may be used, but only if they are worn in addition to an adequate face covering, as the evidence shows that they do not provide adequate protection. However, if you are unable to wear a face covering due to an exemption, a face visor or face shield can be worn as it does provide a limited level of protection.

For more details about exemptions, see Coronavirus (COVID-19): public use of face coverings - (


What counts as a shop with regards to wearing face coverings

Under Schedule 7 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, as amended, the requirement to wear a face covering applies to any location used for the retail sale or hire of goods or services.


Removal of face coverings

You should not ask a client/customer to remove their face covering. No treatment should be performed that requires the face covering to be removed. This includes treatments that your service might routinely provide.

In Levels 0-3, where close contact services  are able to operate, however, certain therapies should not be performed if they break other guidance or regulations. This means treatments that require the removal of a face covering should not be offered or carried out, even if the client is exempt from wearing a face covering and the area is exposed.

Current professional advice is that, for safety reasons, close contact services should not be performed where face-coverings cannot be worn.

Enforcement of face covering laws on clients/customers

Failure to comply with legislation on wearing a face covering is a criminal offence with the potential for a fixed penalty notice to be issued if the law is broken. Shop workers, retailers and close contact providers are not required to enforce this law, but we ask you to talk to customers who are not wearing a face-covering and explain the law. The responsibility to wear a face covering rests with the individual.

If necessary, the police have enforcement powers including issuing fines of £60 (halving to £30 if paid within 28 days) if members of the public do not comply with this law.

If a customer/client is exempt from wearing a face-covering

People who are exempt from wearing a face covering should not be denied access to a space for not wearing a face covering where a reasonable adjustment can be made to allow this to happen. Although businesses have the right to formulate their own entry policies, if a business does refuse entry to a person who is not required by law to wear a face covering, before taking that decision it needs to consider carefully how that fits with its COVID-19 risk assessment, its general health and safety duties, and other obligations arising from the law on employment rights and equalities law.


​​​​​​​Where you can deliver mobile close contact services


From 26 April 2021, in Levels 0 to 3 mobile close contact services can be delivered in a customer/clients home or in any other place where the client/customer may have requested the treatment, such as a community facility or a hotel, in Levels 0 - 3.  Practitioners should only see one client/customer at a time and ensure appropriate hygiene and physical distancing measures are taken to manage risks of working in an external environment. Practitioners can find more information on risk assessments when working in other people’s homes on the Healthy Working Lives website.

We have published guidance for delivering mobile close contact services and practitioners should refer to it for further information.


Advice on ventilation can be found on the our website.​​​​​​​