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
Physical distancing

Physical distancing

How physical distancing impacts close contact services

Regulations allow for physical distancing of at least 2m so far as reasonably practicable. 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.)

Where possible, 2m should be maintained in order to reduce the contact between individuals on site, for example, clients/customers should be at least 2m from one another when on the premises, and staff/staff should be at least 2m from one another when on breaks.


It is recommended that chairs be spaced at distances of at least 2m from one another. Where this cannot be achieved it may be possible, with additional controls, to have chairs located at a reduced distance. Remember there must be at least 2m physical distancing between persons. If this cannot be guaranteed screens/barriers should be put in place.


2 metre physical distancing is the legal minimum physical distance between persons without a partition. If 2m cannot be guaranteed then screens should be used to ensure physical distancing is maintained.

You should install screens between chairs where 2m physical distancing cannot be guaranteed. Screens/barriers may provide a degree of comfort for clients/customers and act as an additional control, however, where clients/customers are less than 2m 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 2m of that individual will be required to self-isolate for a period of 10 days.

Wash hand basins

Wash hand basins should be accessible to staff within the premises. The suitability will be dependent upon the location, the further away from the work environment the more unlikely they will be frequently used. However, within a hairdressing salon the backwash sinks could be utilised for hand washing.

Where hand washing facilities are located in other parts of the premises it is important to ensure that surfaces such as door handles are cleaned regularly to minimise contamination.

You should consider the provision of hand sanitising stations as an additional measure to supplement wash hand basins. Clients/customers should be asked to sanitise their hands on arrival.

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‚Äôs 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.