But what exactly does that mean across the UK Nations?
This week the Prime Minister announced that the plan going forward is to open up society, as agreed, on the 19th July in England. It is important to note that he also mentioned that decisions made going forward will shift from being a state instructive to the responsibility of the individual themselves. This clearly means the onus is now back on individuals to make sensible decisions. Given the ongoing increase in daily cases there is no doubt the pandemic is far from over and while many rules have become personal decisions as opposed to legal requirements all the more reason a cautious approach is still recommended.
The updated Government Guidelines for Close Contact Services (for England) were published late yesterday.
Their priorities have been listed as the following:
- Complete a health and safety risk assessment that includes the risk from COVID-19
- Provide adequate ventilation
- Clean more often
- Turn away people with COVID-19 symptoms
- Enable people to check in at your venue
- Communicate and train (employees, clients & contractors)
It is clear from the guidance that one of the main changes is simply that the responsibility of decisions has reverted back onto the individual rather than being a legal obligation from government and your risk assessment needs to be updated to reflect your changes and considerations.
For an industry that was one of the hardest hit and one of the last to reopen, given the nature of our close contact services, it is imperative to continue to mitigate risk as far as possible. Not only for your safety and the safety of your clients and staff but to help eliminate the factors that could lead to your business having to close and staff to self-isolate too.
If the government guidance and scientific evidence confirms it is still sensible and effective to wear masks when in close proximity to others then, while it may no longer be law, we would certainly encourage our members to strongly consider the evidence, as part of their own risk assessments, and continue to wear them for the time being - especially when working in the breathing zone and also to encourage their clients to do so when not working in that area.
Conferring with staff and communicating with clients on what each Salon’s own protocols are and why, based on your own risk assessment, is essential for their acceptance, understanding and support.
We are aware there are number of points still requiring clarification and we have asked BEIS to provide us with those and will update members as soon as we have any further clarity.
Scotland is moving to Level 0 from Monday the 19th July but with a few modifications to the original plan. Some restrictions will remain in place including face masks still being a legal requirement. For Nicola Sturgeon's full update click here. Their updated guidance has been promised imminently but so far not published.
Wales is moving from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1 from Saturday the 17th July but they are following suit by keeping face masks a legal requirement indoors and on public transport, among other restrictions remaining. They will only look to move to Level 0 from the 7th August but that even then face coverings will still be required indoors and will be kept under review. Click here for full details
Northern Ireland have set an indicative date of the 26th July for further restrictions to be relaxed there - including allowing close contact services to operate without booked appointments and undertake overlapping appointments. This is subject to a review on the 22nd July. Face coverings remain a legal obligation. For further details please click here