Nail bars and beauty salons can finally reopen, confirms Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden

However, some close contact treatments won’t be permitted.

UPDATE 9/07/20: Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has announced that the beauty sector, including nail bars and beauty salons, can reopen from 13 July.

However, some close contact treatments will not be permitted. This includes facial treatments, face waxing/sugaring/threading, eyebrow threading, eyelash treatments, dermarolling, dermaplaning, microblading, make-up application and electrolysis on the face.

The news comes almost one week after hairdressers were allowed to reopen their doors, leaving many beauticians confused, disappointed and upset about the lack of clarity for the rest of the beauty industry.

In an industry that already practices good hygiene, salons will have to follow restrictions and ensure their spaces are fit for social distancing.

This may include checking body temperatures as clients enter, asking them to sanitise their hands before appointments begin and ensuring all beauticians wear PPE. Clients will also be expected to wear face masks.

Since reopening over the weekend, hair salons have gotten rid of waiting areas, asked clients not to bring anybody else to their appointments and sanitised every work station between appointments. Nail bars and beauty salons will likely be following the same steps.

In his announcement, Dowden also revealed that spas, tanning salons, tattooists, gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools can reopen.

The Culture Secretary added that this decision is reversible and dependent on local spikes.

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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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When will nail salons reopen?

Unfortunately, there still isn’t a confirmed date for when nail salons can reopen their doors. “Nail salons are categorised in the government report as non-essential high risk retail, so this will be one of the last industries allowed to reopen,” explains Blair. “Stringent safety and infection control measures will need to be brought in order to minimise the risk, some of which may need to remain in place for a long time after.”

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What will nail salon appointments be like after lockdown?

“Salons already have a very high standard of hygiene however, it needs to step up even more and more rigid protocols will need to be put in place,” says Kalnina.

“I don’t think that salons will be able to permit walk-ins and therefore may need to operate on a appointment only basis. Also, salons might need to reduce 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. 

“I predict salons may consider having no waiting areas, clients might be 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 should have prepared 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 might need to 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 to 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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