UPDATED: ABT offers directions to Members for reopening strategy

UPDATED: 12/05/2020 16.00 hours

ABT, the UK's largest Membership and Insurance provider, has issued information for salons and spas as they prepare to begin trading again following the publication of guidance for reopening beauty and hair businesses in England and Northern Ireland. 

Beauty salons and hairdressers in England – establishments where close contact between people is inherent – have been placed in Step Three of lifting of the public health restrictions, in place to protect against the spread of Covid-19, which comes into action no earlier than Saturday 4th July subject to the Covid Alert Level.  In order to open, salons must meet the government's COVID-19 Secure guidelines, which will be published this week, with salons adapted to operate safely.

Businesses in Northern Ireland have been placed in Step 4 of the Northern Ireland Executive's 'pathway to recovery' however no date has been stated for when this will come into force.

Salons in Scotland and Wales have yet to receive guidance on when they can plan to reopen. 

Dave Horton, ABT's Director, comments:

“Here at ABT we welcome the government's document, which enables businesses within our industry in England to plan for a return to work from Saturday 4th July subject to the Covid Alert Level. We look forward to further clarification on health and safety and PPE requirements in due course. 

“Following the government's guidelines with regards to reopening beauty and hair businesses is vital, and we implore all ABT members to follow this. Whilst recent months have been extremely difficult, we are so proud of ABT members and non-members who have followed all public health measures despite the financial and emotional stress this has understandably caused. 

“It would be naïve to think that business will return to ‘normal' immediately, and we understand this will continue to be a trying time for beauty and hair salons, mobile therapists, nail techs and barbers across the country. ABT continues to be here for our members, with the team available via Live Chat at www.abtinsurance.co.uk, and via Messenger.”

Safety in the salon
Although you should have been practising good health and hygiene within your working environment pre-Covid-19, clients visiting your salon once you reopen are likely to have higher expectations of this. It has become the norm for us all to practice good hand hygiene and sanitisation, and clients will be looking for this in your salon to give them peace of mind that it's safe for them to be there. If you're an employer, you also have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of your staff in the workplace too.

Beauty salons and hairdressers have been placed in Step 3 of lifting of the public health restrictions, which comes into action no earlier than 4th July.
You must practice in line with the government's guidelines with regards to social distancing, hand washing and wearing face masks. Put together a ‘best practice' guide to implement in the salon and ensure that all staff members follow this. This could include, but is not limited to:

  • Allowing a limited number of clients into the premises in line with social distancing rules. You may wish to keep the salon door locked to prevent clients walking in early.
  • Restrict waiting areas, so that everyone can maintain social distancing. 
  • Explaining to all clients on arrival what the procedure will be to ensure their safety. 
  • Ensuring all clients wash their hands with soap or sanitiser as soon as they enter the premises.
  • Ensuring all staff wash or use hand sanitiser at regular intervals.
  • Sanitising all surfaces that clients and staff come into contact with, including nail tables, couches/massage tables, chairs and reception tables in addition to door handles and toilet facilities, between every client visit. 
  • Sanitising all tools between every treatment / appointment.
  • Using disposable couch roll at all times, and fresh towels for every client. Do not use covers, throws or blankets shared between different clients. 
  • Wear a clean / disposable apron for every client.
  • Wear a face mask and / or facial visor during treatments especially those such as facials which require closer physical contact.
  • Taking cashless payments only.
  • Don't allow clients to touch retail products. Sanitise anything that your clients or members of staff may touch including product testers. Ensure only staff dispense a sample of product from a sample bottle.
Once you have compiled a ‘best practice' plan that conforms with government guidelines, you could publish on your salon website so that it's accessible to clients and help alleviate any concerns they may have about visiting your salon. 

Government financial support
Government has implemented a number of schemes for employees, self-employed and small businesses during Covid-19 restrictions. 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Employers are able to furlough employees who are unable to work due to Covid-19 restrictions and   80% of an employee's regular wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, up to a monthly cap of £2,500. Employers claim this money back from the government. Find out more online

Universal Credit
If you have less or no work due to Covid-19 restrictions, you may qualify for Universal Credit. Payment is based on your actual earnings. You can apply for Universal Credit whether you are employed and have lost your job (and your employer has not furloughed you), or if you are self-employed. Find out more online.  

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
If you're self-employed and your business has been affected by Covid-19, you may qualify for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to claim a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500. Find out more online

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is designed to help small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million. The government guarantees 80% of the finance and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months. Find out more online

Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)
Bounce Back Loan Scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow up to 25% of their turnover between £2,000 and £50,000, which the government and has 0% interest for the first 12 months. Find out more online

ABT Membership & Insurance
If your ABT membership is due for renewal, or has lapsed during lockdown, remember to renew now. It's imperative that you keep continual cover in place at this moment in time. Continuous coverage refers to having insurance coverage without any lapses. It is important as it may have legal ramifications if a claim is made against you or you need to make a claim in regard to your contents and equipment policies.

If you don't currently have insurance, choose a policy that's right for you, don't underestimate the amount of insurance cover you will need, and be aware of exclusions, claims excesses, patch test requirements, extra charges and endorsements. In addition, choose a policy that is ‘claims occurring' wording to get long term protection.

ABT's policies includes £6 million each of Professional Liability Insurance, Public Liability Insurance, Product Liability Insurance, and Medical Malpractice/Treatment Risk Insurance, and you can add new treatments to the policy as your skills grow. To join, visit www.abtinsurance.co.uk.

Updated: 12th May at 16.00 hours