Woman getting manicure in nail salon

Nail bars and beauty salons in England set to close for second lockdown

Following the news of a national four-week lockdown, nail and beauty salons are set to close again.

Nail and beauty salons in England will be required to close again under the rules of a second lockdown.

A national four-week lockdown begins on Thursday 5 November and government guidelines state: “personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons.”

As well as missing out on custom ahead of Christmas (traditionally, an incredibly busy time for the beauty industry), the news is also a devastating blow for those who were still in the process of recovering from the previous lockdown that extended over March-July.

After that four month period, nail bars and beauty salons reopened their doors on 13 July, following an announcement from Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden. Initially, close contact treatments, such as facial treatments, face waxing/sugaring/threading, eyebrow threading, eyelash treatments, dermarolling, dermaplaning, microblading, make-up application and electrolysis on the face, were still not allowed but these were slowly phased in over the weeks, after campaigning from the industry.

“This news is devastating for such a large portion of the country, and once again especially for our industry as one of the very last sectors to be able to return to work,” Lesley Blair, chair of BABTAC (British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology), says about the new wave of closures. “Recent surveys and research confirmed that many beauty and hair businesses were literally teetering on the edge and we believe that, even with the financial support, that the second lockdown will cripple so many businesses still reeling from the initial lockdown.

“It is crucial that government are making decisions based on robust evidence, and that those decisions are well communicated and also justified. If not, convincing our sector, one of the worst affected by previous restrictions, to continue to follow the latest guidance becomes an almost impossible task. The credibility of government has never been under more scrutiny and it is imperative that the results of the extreme new steps proposed prove successful without delay. In the meantime, we urge the government for additional financial support for the industry, which in the lead up to Christmas is set to take a further hit at the most crucial time of year from a financial perspective.”

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Since reopening, salons, which already practice good hygiene, have followed Covid-secure restrictions and ensured their spaces are fit for social distancing. This included checking body temperatures as clients enter, asking them to sanitise their hands before appointments begin and ensuring all beauticians wear PPE. Clients were also expected to wear face masks.

Additionally, nail and beauty salons have gotten rid of waiting areas, asked clients not to bring anybody else to their appointments and sanitised every work station between appointments.

When will nail salons reopen?

During his announcement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that the lockdown will be “time-limited”, starting on Thursday 5 November. He added: “They will end on Wednesday 2 December, when we will seek to ease restrictions, going back into the tiered system on a local and regional basis according to the latest data and trends.” Of course, this doesn’t mean that nail and beauty salons will definitely be able to reopen on Wednesday 2 December, however Blair is in talks with the government and we will update this article as more news is released.

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What will nail salon appointments be like after lockdown?

“Salons already have a very high standard of hygiene however, in response to Covid-19, they stepped up even more and applied more rigid protocols,” says Daisy Kalnina, founder of The GelBottle Inc. and Peacći.

“Salons stopped walk-ins and therefore operated on an appointment-only basis. Also, salons reduced their available nail stations to allow two-metre social distancing between clients. I think it would be a fair presumption to say that to be able to book in with your favourite nail technician you may experience a two to three times longer wait-time to get an available slot. 

“Salons also have no waiting areas, clients are usually expected to arrive just before their appointment and without being late. Clients may no longer be allowed to bring partners, friends or kids to their appointments and salon spaces might be stripped back for effective and easy cleaning.

“Before the appointment, nail technicians should check if customers and anyone in their household have had any  flu-like symptoms for the last seven days. Due to the close contact of nail appointments, nail technicians now wear appropriate PPE, like masks, face shields, gloves, disposable aprons. They may offer face masks for sale if the customer doesn’t have one.

“During the appointment, nail technicians should use disposable single use tools where possible. Once the appointment is over, nails salons should allow at least 15 minutes between customers to ensure stations are properly disinfected and cleaned. Non-disposable equipment should also be thoroughly cleaned and then sterilised between each customer.”

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How can clients work with nail salons to ensure safety?

Whilst rules will slightly vary from salon to salon, Kalnina outlines some basic guidelines that customers should follow when going to their appointments:

  • Be conscious to book early and stick with your appointments or cancel them well in advance because it has a huge effect on nail technicians’ livelihoods.
  • Abide by salon instructions on social distancing and hygiene measures put in place.
  • Expect to only enter the salon when another customer leaves or the nail technician lets you in.
  • Expect to wash your hands with soap and antibacterial liquids upon entry.
  • Do not touch your face or any personal belongings, such as phones.
  • Follow any requests made by salon staff in relation to hygiene for the wellbeing of others.
  • If you have a pedicure, expect to remove socks/tights upon entry and place them on designated surfaces. Pedicure slippers should be worn and feet soaked before the nail tech touches them.
  • Expect the possibility that you might need to wear disposable masks.
  • Do not move around the salon more than necessary and maintain a distance from other clients of at least two metres.
  • Keep up-to-date with any communications from your salons on any changes on how they are operating and all salon hygiene guidelines before entering the salon. Customers might be asked to confirm that they understand this prior to going to the salon.
  • Expect to leave personal items such as scarfs or jewellery at home.
  • Expect that salons may be operating on a ‘no cash basis”. They may only take payments online before the appointment or via card machine offering a disinfected tool to press the pin buttons.
  • Listen carefully to any rules put in place by the salon and respect them.

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Originally published 20/05/2020: When will nails salons reopen? It’s okay if you’ve thought about this question at some point during lockdown.

Back in March, as life was slowly beginning to change around Covid-19, we reported on whether it was actually safe to still visit the nail salon. A week later, salons across the UK were ordered to close and now, almost 12 weeks after that, they continue to remain firmly shut. However, despite the fact hairdressers are officially allowed to open from 4 July, it’s not the same story for nail salons.

While we’ve begun to accept and settle into a new way of living, there will be times where we all miss the everyday slices of our old normal lives. For some, this may be taking the time for yourself and visiting a nail salon. But when you think about the close proximity of a nail appointment – sitting face-to-face and hands touching – getting back to the salon isn’t so straight forward, but with the slow easing up of lockdown we can hope that nail appointments will be able to happen in the near future. 

“Nail salons, as with all beauty and hair salons, is a contact business and as such social distancing simply cannot be adhered to,” explains Lesley Blair, chair of BABTAC (British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology).

“The responsibility of minimising risk is as important for clients as it is for the salon. They themselves need to adhere to current government guidelines, be understanding of any changes and adhere to additional protocols that have been put into place by the salons for the protection of all.”

Once these important steps are put in place, the intention is for you to be informed by your nail salon on what to expect ahead of your appointment. “Nail salons should communicate clearly with their clients in writing whether it’s via email, text, website or social media on what is required from the customer before and at the time of the appointment,” says Daisy Kalnina, founder of The GelBottle Inc. and Peacći. “They should also make sure the customer acknowledges and understands these measures put in place before they enter the salon.”

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