[Updated] What Does Coronavirus Stay Alert Message Mean for Hair Salons?
The UK Government announced a new coronavirus ‘Stay Alert’ message, which has replaced the previous slogan to ‘Stay Home’. This next phase of lockdown officially begins on Monday 11 May with a COVID Alert System run by a new Joint Biosecurity Centre. But, what does the new coronavirus Stay Alert message and COVID Alert System mean for UK hair salons?
Does new coronavirus Stay Alert message mean UK hair salons will open from 4 July?
Following Boris Johnson’s official statement on Sunday 10 May which is outlined below, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Dominic Raab told Sky News on Monday 11 May that hair salons, alongside pubs and restaurants will not open until 4 July at the “very earliest”.
NHBF’s chief executive Hilary Hall is pleased with Raab’s announcement. She said: “It is our view that this is the right course of action, as the safety of the people in our industry is paramount. Scotland and Wales have also spoken of their determination to take a cautious approach and their current restrictions remain in place.”
The third step of the plan which includes hair salons has been set out as part of the coronavirus Stay Alert message COVID Alert System and recovery strategy, which can be viewed in a 50-page UK Government document outlined here.
Page 31 of the document includes extra detail about Step 3 of the plan, which includes hair salons reopening from 4 July at the earliest. It states:
The ambition at this step is to open at least some of the remaining businesses and premises that have been required to close, including personal care (such as hairdressers and beauty salons)… In order to facilitate the fastest possible re-opening of these types of higher-risk businesses and public places, the Government will carefully phase and pilot re-openings to test their ability to adopt the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines. The Government will also monitor carefully the effects of re-opening other similar establishments elsewhere in the world, as this happens. The Government will establish a series of taskforces to work closely with stakeholders in these sectors to develop ways in which they can make these businesses and public places COVID-19 Secure.”
NHBF writes open letter to government for clarification about reopening guidelines and PPE
On Monday 11 May 2020 the NHBF wrote an open letter to the UK Government asking for clarity on the guidelines that the hair and beauty industry will need to apply once salons reopen. The letter explains that the guidelines should apply to the sector as a whole, regardless of whether stylists, barbers or beauty therapists are working in salons or on a freelance basis from home.
The open letter also addresses concerns from the industry about tougher enforcement of social distancing rules, clarification on PPE requirements and the need for financial support while businesses are unable to trade.
What is the new coronavirus Stay Alert Message and COVID Alert system timeline?
UK prime minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation during a live broadcast about easing lockdown measures on Sunday 10 May. He said: “To chart our progress and to avoid going back to square one, we are establishing a new COVID Alert System run by a new Joint Biosecurity Centre. That COVID Alert Level will be determined primarily by R and the number of coronavirus cases.”
He added: “In turn that COVID Alert Level will tell us how tough we have to be in our social distancing measures – the lower the level, the fewer the measures. The higher the level, the tougher and stricter we will have to be. There will be five alert levels. Level One means the disease is no longer present in the UK. Level Five is the most critical – the kind of situation we could have had if the NHS had been overwhelmed.”
From 11 May – Coronavirus Stay Alert Message Step 1: Go to work if you can’t work from home
Boris stated the first step in the new COVID Alert system means the UK Government’s message has changed from only going to work if you must to anyone who can’t work from home should be actively encouraged to go to work.
However, Boris specifically referred to those in construction or manufacturing as examples of sectors who could go back to work from Monday 11 May.
Boris said: “Work from home if you can, but you should go to work if you can’t work from home. To ensure you are safe at work we have been working to establish new guidance for employers to make workplaces COVID-secure.”
He added later in his statement that anyone in a position to go to work should drive, walk or ride a bike to their workplace as opposed to taking public transport.
From 1 June (at the earliest) – Coronavirus Stay Alert Message Step 2: “Phased reopening of shops
The second step of the COVID Alert system states there will be a phased reopening of shops from 1 June at the earliest.
Boris said: “Step 2: At the earliest, by June 1 – after half term – we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.”
From 4 July (at the earliest) Coronavirus Stay Alert Message Step 3: Reopening of parts of the hospitality industry including hair salons
Boris explained the third coronavirus Stay Alert message and step 3 of the COVID Alert System could mean some of the hospitality industry will reopen. He said: “At the earliest by July – subject to these conditions and further scientific advice; if and only if the numbers support it we will hope to re-open at least some of the hospitality industry and other public places, if they are safe and enforce social distancing.”
NHBF and Hair and Barber Council comment on what 10 May Coronavirus Stay Alert message means for hair salons
Following Boris Johnson’s statement on Sunday 10 May, NHBF’s chief executive Hilary Hall said: “We recommend all hair and beauty businesses remain closed until further notice as there has been no immediate change to the current closure rules.”
She added: “Since the government announcement was confusing, we are now seeking urgent clarification about when hair and beauty salons and barbershops will be able to open, subject to the Covid Alert Level. Following conversations this evening between the NHBF, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Business Secretary Alok Sharma, sector trade bodies and business representatives, we are expecting further advice and guidelines later this week.” Hilary is encouraging all members of the professional hairdressing industry to follow the NHBF’s updates on its website.
Hair and Barber Council registrar Keith Conniford was disappointed with the announcement. He said: “The announcement was very disappointing and ambiguous. I was expecting more than what was announced, such as restrictions on households and families being lifted. The Prime Minster says he will be going into more detail this week so will be interesting to see what he says.”
Keith added: “Concerning our industry, he stated that from 1 June non-essential shops will open – so does that include salons, barbershops and beauty salons? I will be speaking to Government and our APPG this week as to whether we are classed as non-essential businesses.”
He pointed out that for business it was a disappointing announcement: “We are left with no more information than we had last week. My biggest concern was his statement that if you can’t work from home then go to work – I believe that was aimed at manufacturing, construction and medical rather than our industry and we urge hairdressers, barbers and beauticians to wait for further clarification, which we will endeavour to get as soon as possible.”