Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): close contact services

Published: 22 Apr 2021
Last updated: 30 Jul 2021 - see all updates

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
Where we are now

Where we are now

Scotland follows a COVID-19 levels system. There are 5 levels (0-4) and each has a different set of rules.

Find out the level and rules for an area using the postcode checker.

More information on the current COVID position is available.  using the below link:

Levels system impact on close contact services

Levels 0-3

Within Levels 0 and 1, we would expect to see low incidence of the virus with isolated clusters, and low community transmission. Within Levels 2 and 3, we would expect to see increased incidence of the virus, with multiple clusters and increased community transmission.

All close contact services, including mobile, will be able to operate in these levels.

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

Level 4/Lockdown

Within this level we would expect to see very high or rapidly increasing incidence, and widespread community transmission which may pose a threat to the NHS’s ability to cope.

Premises-based hairdressers and barbers, by appointment only, and premises based sports massage provided to professional sportspersons will be able to remain open in Level 4. All other close contact services must close.

This additional public health measure of requiring appointments is designed to reduce interaction between households and help with contact tracing, in light of the significant challenge posed by the variants of coronavirus.


For close contact services, customer and practitioners should refer to their local Strategic Framework level and associated guidance to understand whether they should seek or provide services. A person who provides a close contact service must not provide that service in a Level 4 area, subject to the exception regarding premises-based hairdressers and barbers which may operate by appointment only. All treatment rooms located within a premises-based hair/barber salon must be closed off in Level 4. If a customer and practitioner are located in areas at different levels, they should default to whichever level is highest, for example:

  • customers unable to obtain services in their area because they are not permitted at the current level should not travel to areas in lower levels to obtain those services
  • practitioners unable to provide services in their area because they are not permitted at the current level should not travel to areas in lower levels to provide those services
  • customers in Levels 0 – 2 should not travel to areas in Level 3 to seek services, and customers in Level 3 should not travel to areas in Levels 0 – 2 to seek services
  • practitioners in Levels 0 – 2 are permitted to travel to area in Level 3 for work purposes only, and practitioners in Level 3 are permitted to travel into Levels 0 – 2 for work purposes only

Businesses must operate in a way that protects both customers and staff. It is for businesses to decide how to offer appointments – there is no requirement for a formal or expensive electronic booking system although appointments should be made in advance. Businesses should make clear to customers how they can make an appointment and should dissuade customers from entering the premises without an appointment. We also strongly encourage recording customer details in line with our guidance on contact tracing.

A full list of businesses that can remain open during Level 4 is in the Health Protection (Coronavirus)(Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Level) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, as amended.

Updated risk and equality impact assessments must be used to ensure that close contact services remain as safe as possible for staff and customers, who should continue to implement and strictly observe mitigations.


Physical distancing in Level 0

Physical distancing measures will be slowly eased to enable us to operate in a less restricted way.

When areas move down to Level 0, the following changes will apply:

  • physical distancing in outdoor settings
  • physical distancing of 1m in indoor settings

Physical distancing requirements will be removed when all areas in Scotland move beyond Level 0.

Beyond Level 0

We have set out the vaccine milestones we hope to reach over the summer, and the plan to take us out of COVID-19 restrictions. See our proposed timetable for these changes.

Our Strategic Framework update sets out what a move beyond Level 0 may look like. We will ensure that our information is clear and accessible as we enter a period where people need to make personal judgements, rather than rules set by government.

This means everyone playing their part by:

  • maintaining good hand hygiene
  • practising respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette
  • wearing face coverings
  • ensuring there is good ventilation – open windows when indoors
  • continuing to engage with Test and Protect and self-isolate when symptomatic or have tested positive

A move beyond Level 0 will be conditional on all adults over 40 protected with two doses of the vaccination and a review of the epidemic being carried out ahead of the date for that move.

As restrictions are eased, the emphasis will continue to be on personal responsibility, good practice and informed judgement. Read the latest  information on Coronavirus in Scotland.

Travelling through Levels

See: travel rules and restrictions and protection levels, including information about essential travel.

Read more information on what you can and cannot do at each level.

Services ancillary to medical health

Where these ‘other services or procedures’ (as mentioned in the list provided on page 1 of this guidance) are ancillary to medical, health or social care services they may continue in level 4 areas. This is to ensure that necessary medical, health or social care services, including care packages, may continue. 

In relation to what other services are considered ancillary to medical, health, or social care services and may therefore continue in Level 4 areas, we cannot provide advice in relation to specific or individual examples -  it is for individual practitioners to ensure that any other services or procedures they provide under Level 4 restrictions are legitimately ancillary to medical, health, or social care services. In Level 4 areas, we would advise that the focus of such treatment/care should be restricted to essential or urgent treatment of clinically diagnosed conditions where no treatment would have a significantly adverse impact on the wellbeing of the patient. For example, this could be treatment or care being provided in a hospice as part of a palliative care package. 

Allied Health Professionals such as physiotherapists or podiatrists may operate in Level 4 areas if they are providing ‘other services or procedures’ which are ancillary to medical, health or social care services. However, we continue to call on their professionalism and clinical judgement to ensure the range of treatments provided is appropriate and delivered in a way that does not have an adverse impact on the national effort to keep COVID-19 under control.

First published: 22 Apr 2021 Last updated: 30 Jul 2021 -