The continued use of masks in the personal grooming industry will become voluntary on Monday, 28th of February.
The Government has announced that as of the 28th Feb, the legislation that under pins the mandatory wearing of masks in the personal grooming industry will be removed. This is replaced with the following advice:
The mandatory requirement to wear masks will be removed, while the public health advice that masks should continue to be worn on public transport and in healthcare settings remains.
The government also notes that as Omicron is still with us, there are critical actions which continue to require our collective response. These include the following;
- isolate if you are symptomatic (even if you are fully vaccinated and boosted), or if you are diagnosed with COVID-19.
- complete your primary and booster programme of vaccination.
- continue to manage risk for yourself and others who are more vulnerable by wearing masks, physical distancing and avoiding crowds, as well as basic hand and respiratory hygiene.
Additionally, The Transitional Protocol: Good Practice Guidance for Continuing to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 (updated 31st January) notes:
“Public health continues to advise that sector-specific measures such as promotion of rapid self-isolation when a worker is symptomatic, appropriate use of face masks (outside of specific regulated sectors where face masks are required), physical distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene, ventilation and signage be considered. Therefore, employers in consultation with their workers and following consideration of their individual workplaces should continue to maintain the measures set out below.
- Outside of the above regulated settings, it is still good practice to continue to use face masks/coverings particularly in crowded areas
- Employers should continue to support and facilitate the use of face masks by workers who may wish to continue to use them
- Full details on the various measures recommended can be viewed HERE
So what does this all mean for the Personal Care industry? How should we move forward as an industry? HABIC has considered the guidelines and advise the following:
- Have open dialogue with team members about the use of masks/face coverings in the workplace.
- An employer may wish to retain a mask-wearing policy, as part of their overall infection control measures which may be included as part of the Covid Response Plan.
- The employer can continue providing masks and can continue to support and encourage the use of them in the workplace.
- Salons should note that if they wish to ask clients to continue to adhere to a mask-wearing policy, this is done on a voluntary basis only.
- Where an employee is advising a client about a mask-wearing policy, we recommend providing workers with a script to support them in this task (example below).
- Many team members and clients will remain vulnerable, and many people remain extremely nervous, thus, open communication, mutual respect and support is essential as the industry moves into this transitional phase.
Example of Script:
“As part of our salon’s overall infection control measures and inline with our Covid Response Plan, SALON NAME wishes to retain a voluntary mask-wearing policy, therefore we are kindly asking all our clients to support us in this measure by continuing to wear your mask when visiting the salon.”
Whatever way you decide to proceed, it is important to clearly display your policy for your clients to see, and to have a clear understanding of your policy within your team. Communication is key.