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What to Expect When Nail Salons Reopen in the UK

Nail Bars Are Set to Reopen on 13th July — Here’s What You Can Expect When They Do

A nail file being used to tidy up a nail and remove cuticles during a manicure procedure.

Update (9 July, 2020): On Thursday, culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, announced that as of Monday 13 July, nail bars (as well as tattoo parlours and beauty salons) in England are able to reopen. It was originally announced during Prime Minister Boris Johnson's speech on June 23 that these services were not able to reopen with hair salons on 4 July as they are classified as a "close contact service" and would only be reopened when they can operate in a "COVID-secure way." This left thousands of beauty industry professionals disheartened and frustrated, particularly after it was announced that pubs were given the go ahead to reopen on 4 July.

It will no doubt come as a huge relief to those working in the beauty industry who have been keen to get back to work as soon as possible. Dowden did note that "some restrictions" would be in place with regards to beauty salons reopening, however, these restrictions will not affect nail bars.

As for other parts of the UK, in Scotland, hairdressers and barbers can return on 15 July and beauty salons can return on 22 July, with no mention of restrictions. In Wales, beauty salons and tattoo parlours can reopen as of 27 July. Both hair and beauty salons in Northern Ireland were opened from 6 July.

Original Post (13 May, 2020): While heading back to the nail salon isn't of utmost importance right now (the main priority remains continued safety for the public by staying home), planning and road-mapping how salons will operate post pandemic lockdown is crucial to the beauty industry moving forward and succeeding in the future.

Many services the beauty industry provides falls under the "personal care" category, which is addressed in the third phase of the government's Plan to Rebuild. As part of phase three, a provisional date of 4 July (at the earliest) has been set for beauty salons to begin reopening in England, provided the government is confident that the infection rate of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has decreased sufficiently. Until then, the industry will continue working together, and with the government, to preemptively put a reopening plan in place that ensures the safety of both salon workers and clients.

In addition to following the government's COVID-19 Secure Guidelines that were provided to businesses as part of its Plan to Rebuild, the British Beauty Council — with the help of renowned nail expert Marian Newman and scientist, author, and educator Doug Schoon — has compiled an easy-to-use set of guidelines for nail salons, which have been submitted to the government.

Beyond the British Beauty Council guidelines below, the British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (BABTAC) has issued in-depth Back to Work Guidelines, and the National Hair and Beauty Federation is also working with the government to ensure the industry can return to work safely. Although this is an ever-changing situation, this is what you can likely expect when salons do reopen.

There Will Be Increased Hygiene Measures in Place

Hygiene has always been top priority in nail salons, but now increased measures will be taken to ensure the safety of both employees and customers.

So far, the extra hygiene steps for nail salons include: increased hand washing for clients and technicians using disposable paper towels, technicians are to wear masks at all times, and technicians are not to touch any of the customer's personal belongings during appointments. Tools will be handled with stricter disinfection instructions, in addition to all nail polish brushes being cleaned between clients. Magazines or refreshments such as tea and coffee should no longer be offered to clients (single-use cups and water dispensers only), while Newman and Schoon recommend about 15 minutes in between each client to allow for adequate cleaning and disinfecting.

Yes, You'll Have to Wear a Mask During Your Nail Appointment

Although masks in nail salons aren't rare, extra attention will be given to personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as clothing. Technicians are recommended to wear a fresh uniform daily (such as a tunic), washed at 60 degrees after each use, which should not be worn at home or on their commute to and from work.

Masks should be a requirement for all staff — Newman recommends N95 or FFP2 masks. However, in light of current shortages and recommendations from the government to only use nonmedical masks, technicians should check guidelines nearer the time of reopening. Clients should also wear a mask during their treatment, which should be disposed of immediately afterwards.

As mentioned, gloves should be worn at all times. To eliminate risk of latex sensitivity, they should be powder-free nitrile gloves. While salon safety is incredibly important and proper PPE should be worn, it's important to make sure that frontline workers take priority for PPE access — this should be taken into consideration before opening to ensure adequate protection for an extended period of time.

There Will Be Fewer Customers in the Salon at One Time

Social distancing will still apply to in-salon nail appointments. Salons with more than one desk should be spaced two metres apart, and clients are advised to move around the premises as little as possible. At the moment, Newman and Schoon don't recommend screens to divide clients and technicians, as these would require additional disinfecting, which, if not carried out, may pose a bigger risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Walk-In Appointments Will No Longer Be Permitted

The general etiquette and way appointments are made is likely to change when the lockdown lifts. Salons are advised not to accept walk-in clients and only operate on an appointment basis. Each client should be asked about any COVID-19-related symptoms before proceeding with the appointment — likely via email or phone with agreed acknowledgement from clients of new policies in place. Technicians should only treat one client at a time to avoid any virus transferal.

Salons should also operate on a no-cash basis, instead taking card payments on a system that can be easily cleaned when touched. Arrive to the appointment on time and alone (without children) and only enter the premises when the previous client has left. In addition to this, cancellation policies may be reconsidered for those sick or unable to attend last minute.

We May Have to Wait Longer For Mobile and Home Salon Appointments

Technicians working on a mobile basis should not commence working until all restrictions on visitors in the home have been fully lifted. Once these lockdown rules have been lifted, the technician should avoid contact with other members in the home while carrying out the treatment. When entering the client's home, technicians should wear disposable foot coverings, gloves, a mask, and protective clothing, to be changed before entering a new client's home.

When visiting a nail salon or having a technician perform a treatment at home, you must confirm with the salon that you've been symptom-free for seven days, and that those you live with have also been symptom-free. These guidelines will be put in place to ensure the safety of both staff and clients, and being mindful and respectful of the salon's individual policies makes sure the industry can return to its new normal as quickly as possible.

POPSUGAR aims to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information about the coronavirus, but details and recommendations about this pandemic may have changed since publication. For the latest information on COVID-19, please check out resources from the WHO and the NHS.

Image Source: Getty / Kosamtu
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