Life in lockdown has now meant almost three months without a visit to the hairdresser, so it's fair to say that most of us are eager to know when we'll be able to book in for a haircut or colour treatment again.
Many have embraced a DIY mentality when it comes to our hair, attempting at-home trims and dye jobs, but we can't wait to get back into the salon and into the hands of a professional hairstylist.
Wondering when hairdressers are set to reopen in the UK, and what salon visits may look like when they do? Here's everything you need to know...
When do hairdressers reopen?
On 10 May, Boris Johnson revealed that personal care businesses, including hairdressers, could be allowed to offer services again "no earlier than 4 July".
On Tuesday, 23 June, the Prime Minister announced that hairdressers can indeed reopen from 4 July, provided that safety measures are in place, including the use of visors.
This is part of step three of the government's roadmap to lifting lockdown restrictions, published on the official gov.uk website.
In order to reopen, hairdressers will need to ensure they can meet the government's 'COVID-19 Secure' guidelines, which includes maintaining social distancing. As a result, some smaller salons may find it difficult to reopen safely, or may not be able to offer a full service.
When will hairdressers reopen across the UK?
While the above policy applies to England, the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own plans for lifting lockdown restrictions, meaning that hairdressers may be allowed to reopen at different points across the UK.
When will hairdressers reopen in Scotland?
In Scotland, hairdressers may reopen in phase three of the country's four-phase "route map" to ease restrictions, which have been published on the gov.scot website. No set date has been given for the start of phase three in Scotland, however lockdown restrictions are reviewed every three weeks, with the next review due on 9 July.
When will hairdressers reopen in Northern Ireland?
In Northern Ireland, "contact" retail, including hairdressers, were originally due to be allowed to open in step four of the NI Executive's five-stage plan, which was published in May. On 15 June, the Stormont Execute announced that hairdressers can reopen from 6 July, as long as safety measures are in place. However, it made clear that this date may change if the rate of the virus appears to rise.
When will hairdressers reopen in Wales?
Meanwhile, Wales is using a "traffic light" system for lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions, which has been detailed on the gov.wales website. As with the other devolved governments, the roadmap does not include a timeline, although hairdressers may reopen in the Amber phase.
When restrictions were last reviewed on 19 June, the Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford, that hairdressers may be allowed to reopen from 13 July, if appropriate safety measures can be implemented. It will be revealed whether this change an come into effect at the next review on 9 July.
How will hairdressers change when they reopen?
When announcing that hairdressers can reopen from 4 July in England, the Prime Minister revealed that safety measures, including the use of visors, must be put in place. It's clear that the salon experience is going to be very different once appointments are up and running again.
Whether that means virtual consultations ahead of your haircut, the use of protective screens or floor markings to help maintain strict social distancing measures, things in salons are set to change.
While hairdressers have been awaiting official government guidelines on how to open and operate safely, many salons and barbers across the UK have been preparing ahead of time to ensure they are ready to open as soon as they can.
The Square salon in Kent had already begun making modifications so that it could reopen on 4 July, subject to the restrictions in England being lifted. As an official L’Oréal Professionnel salon partner, owner Ben Hards followed the beauty brand's 'Back to Business' guidelines and recommendations for salons, as well as its new e-learning 'Access' platform, teaching hairdressers more about hygiene and safety.
"We are ready to return to work safely now and we literally cannot wait to open our doors again and welcome back our clients!" he said in a release, prior to the government's announcement that hairdressers can reopen on 4 July. "We are putting in place several changes to keep our amazing team and guests safe.
"Throughout this time, we have been working closely with our partner L’Oréal Pro, who have produced 'Back to Business' support guides, created hand sanitiser, and secured PPE such as masks, as well as regularly fixing video calls, which has all been fantastic."
Here are the key steps being taken by The Square, many of which we can expect to see across UK salons once they reopen:
- Consultations will happen either virtually or in-salon prior to appointments to reduce the amount of time you spend there.
- The salon will communicate with clients before appointments, so that you know what to expect when you arrive, with reminders about social distancing and new hygiene measures.
- Staggered appointment times will be introduced to avoid congestion at the front desk.
- Hand sanitiser and personal protective equipment will be given to clients on arrival.
- Clients will remain with just one member of staff, their stylist, throughout the entirety of their visit.
- Protective glass screens have been installed at the backwash and in between salon stations, with some blocked off to maintain social distancing. Cleaning and disinfecting will take place between every appointment.
- Additional time between appointments will be factored into bookings for clients requiring colour correction following lockdown.
- Signage will be used across the salon, asking you not to touch products. If you want to buy a product during your visit, it will be wiped down and placed in a bag for you.
- Contactless payments will be used, and no cash will be permitted. Payments will also be taken at the salon styling station rather than at the front desk.
- All touch-points and tools will be cleaned and disinfected after every appointment.
So, there you have it – an indication of what to expect when you're finally able to visit your hairdresser again.
And, in the meantime, if you're thinking of trying a DIY treatment in the meantime, check out our expert guide to colouring your hair at home, as well as top advice on how to keep your hair healthy until your appointment.
Top tip: If you want to make sure you can get an appointment as soon as they become available, it's worth checking your salon's website to see if you can book an online appointment now.
The above information is correct at the time of publishing. For the latest information, visit the gov.uk website.
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