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What could be expected when barbers and hairdressers return to work after Covid-19? The BMB Guide

Barbers and hairdressing salons need to stay closed for a few more weeks as stated by the UK government and could be for much longer as It’s not entirely sure at this time exactly when we will be allowed back to work. Due to the close working nature of our trade, it is expected that hairdressers and barbers could be some of the last businesses allowed to return to normal working practice.

During the lockdown is a great time to evaluate, plan and prepare how your daily business routine will run. You should prepare for longer opening hours to cater for the slower service as important cleansing will now need to be introduced between services along with introducing amended pricing to help with the further costs included with these new working structures and PPE that’s required.

If you prepare early for the worst case scenario your business will be stronger when the time comes to open. You, your family and your clients safety is the most important thing so protect yourself as much as you feel possible.

The British Master Barbers have put together a guide to help you with some of the areas you could be expected to adjust when we finally return back to work. Please use this guide to prepare aspects of your business to help keep yourself, Families and clients safe. These are not set Government-issued plans or guidelines but expected risk areas that potentially could affect yourself, staff and customers when we do finally return behind the chairs. This guide is liable to change as Government produces us with official guidelines .

There has been talk of a traffic light system of barbers returning to work floating around on social media but this has proven to be fake news and the Government has denied that any plans like this have been approved. Please don't believe everything you see on social media and take note of the website for all notices and adhere to the official government guidelines at all times as and when they are set.


Stay at home and isolate yourself from others. Do not leave your home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home. Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.


Contact your insurance company to make sure you are covered in all the aspects of going back to work. Sanitisation and employee distancing will not be optional. Salon owners and chair renters will have to demonstrate 'due diligence' to protect their clients and their staff, they will need to not only show evidence of good practice but also keep good clear records to protect themselves from later claims in case someone contracts CV and can trace it to you or your shop.


Here’s a shortlist of the Personal Protective Equipment that's available and could help protect you and your clients. Cross-contamination needs to be prevented so only use one item per client before cleaning and sterilising . All tools, work station, mirror, gown, and PPE must be cleaned, disinfected or disposed of between each client. We expect PPE will be required to be worn by you but could also be offered to your clients to aid further protection.

  • Single use gloves / Wash hands regularly using antibacterial wash or sanitiser

  • Disposable plastic apron

  • Fluid repellent surgical mask

  • Double pair of gloves could be worn to allow for changing top pair of gloves between clients or procedures. Bottom gloves should overlap the gown sleeves.

  • Long-sleeved fluid repellent gown

  • FFP3 respirator

  • Eye protection (visor which can be disposable or reusable)


If you have a good cleaning routine this should be easy for you. The single-use system will be required. Every item used must be cleaned, sanitised or disposed of properly after every client. All non-electrical tools must be placed in a sterilising solution like Barbicide for at least ten minutes before its next use. A secondary set of tools would be a good idea to swap over too while the previous is sanitising for the stated time.Electrical tools can be cleansed of hair and then be sprayed with cleaning sprays like Clippercide or Saloncide.

Please check the working time required for the sprays effective use.Antibacterial disinfectant sprays are required on all hard surfaces like mirrors, workstations, chairs, and even floors.

Keeping yourself clean is very important. A shower directly before and after work will help minimise transferring disease between home and your place of work. Place all working clothes directly into the wash on your return home.Use antibacterial products like Morgan’s advanced hand sanitising gel for washing hands.


Your shop layout and working routine may need to change to prevent the further spread of Covid-19. Spacing your work areas further apart to the suggested minimum 2 meters could be recommended and waiting queues may be suggested to be kept outside to keep the minimal amount of persons within your shop at any time.Air conditioning is recommended to be kept turned off to prevent the recirculation of air and open windows to allow fresh air flow.It may be a longer day in the shop to keep up with client demand. Everyone is expected to be very busy on our return but you must keep a clean environment and show your clients you have considered their wellbeing as well as keeping yourself safe.


Disposable towels would be recommended. If Standard towels are used They must only have single use and stored in a sealed disposable bag after use. After use they must be washed on a hot wash taking care to only handle whilst using appropriate PPE.


If any symptoms are felt they should stay at home for 14 days to recover and don’t attend any appointments until this time. Asking your customers to wash thoroughly before coming to you, wearing a face mask and using provided hand sanitiser once in your premises may help reduce spread.


Many barbers are planning to turn to appointments to help control customer timing and cleaning allowance time. There are many barber appointment specific apps that can be used. Prepayments through these apps could provide you with added protection as no cash is handled. Prepayments may offer financial security if customers don’t turn up to appointments. No shows could seriously impact your daily routine as this could easily create lost working time especially if you include the extra cleaning time allowed for sterilisation between each client.

NearCut can offer many advanced features to help support you running and promoting your business along with notifications to update to your clients on latest developments and also transferring the required elements of your business to appointments. The great team are even offering 3 months free trial that may help you through this tough time.

If appointments are not suitable for your clientele we would recommend that you create suitable ticket system or queuing that is outdoors and spaced minimum 2 meters apart and only allow 1 client in the shop at a time ( or 1 per chair) Customer spacing in your shop will need to be adjusted to allow a better social distance of minimum 2 meters between clients.

Waiting chairs could be placed outdoors to help elderly or disabled clients during waiting times but understand these will also need to be cleaned between each use.


Before working on any client you must take into account their current health and venerability.Taking temperatures before procedures could determine if a client has any condition that could put others at risk. If so refusal of service is required. It is considered a person has a fever when they have a measured temperature of 100.4°F (38°C). Recommend they go home and follow the NHS advice.

Wash customer's hair before starting treatment. This could help decontaminate and offers a slightly better chance of not cross-contaminating. Alcohol-based hair tonics Like FAB Hair tonics can offer further antibacterial protection and if used with a light head massage can be an increased service for your client.

Disposable neck strips could be advised to prevent cross-contamination from customers onto the gown. Neo Capes have a neoprene collar which could be cleaned with antibacterial wipes and disinfectant between each client. Although a fresh disposable gown for each client would be highly recommended.

Anti-bacterial alcohol-based hair tonic products could be mixed with water and applied to your spray bottle. Please note not everybody is ok with the use of alcohol-based products so please announce the use with each customer.


Working around the mouth or nose is a particular area for infection and could increase the chances of cross-contamination. We highly recommended that this service is put on hold for the time being. We would highly recommend your clients wear face masks to stop the spread and keep them on during all the services you provide.


Due to the extra costs involved with providing a safer service to your clients it may be worth looking at your pricing. A price increase may be required and help support your business with the extra fees you are experiencing regarding PPE and cleaning equipment.The exchange of and handling cash is an area for concern. With the new plastic notes antibacterial wipes could reduce spread but we at this time would highly recommend the use of prepayments, bank transfers or contactless card transactions. If you don’t currently have methods for accepting cards a contactless card machine like Sumup could be of use. This easily connects to your phone and after setting up an app connected with your bank account you're ready to go. Please note a small fee is included in each transaction with these products.


Offering services to customers at their home or outside a shop can lead to more issues caused by working in an environment outside of your control. We advise not to offer haircuts or services at your own home unless you have a specific room or outbuilding where you can clean and provide a safe space that doesn’t affect your living areas or other persons living in your household. Traveling to lots of other households puts your safety at a higher risk. Any signs of illness on your customer should result in a refusal of service until improvements in conditions are seen. Taking your clients' temperature can assist you with this decision. PPE must be worn and constant sanitising must take place of all equipment. Disposable gowns, gloves and masks are recommended and must be disposed of at the client's premises to prevent taking infections home. Do not travel from one household to another without completing a full cleanse of yourself, clothes, tools and PPE to prevent cross-contamination.Taking this into account there will be a reduced number of clients you can service every day. Remember to wash yourself as much as possible and prevent taking any contaminates home to your family. Take a bath or shower straight away when you get home and put your used clothes straight into the washing.

Have you taken the FREE British Master Barbers health & Safety course yet? Download and print your certificate on completion.


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