Beauty salons could open on 12 April in England - but which treatments will be allowed?
Taking a trip to the local beauty salon is as essential as going to the supermarket for some people.
And after months of lockdown restrictions, it’s safe to say that many are desperately missing getting their nails, eyebrows and eyelashes done.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his roadmap out of lockdown on Monday 22 February, setting out the potential dates in which parts of the economy could reopen following the coronavirus lockdown.
So, were beauty salons part of the roadmap - and when could they reopen in England?
Here is everything you need to know.
When will beauty salons reopen?
During his roadmap statement, Mr Johnson told MPs how restrictions in England, in place since 5 January, will be gradually relaxed.
A four-step roadmap has been drawn up, outlining the consecutive stages to relative normality.
It includes the initial relaxation of measures as well as the restrictions that could be eased in the coming months.
However, whether the four steps happen is dependent on strict conditions on vaccines, infection rates and new coronavirus variants.
Step one of the roadmap includes dates for the reopening of schools and outdoor socialising, while step two focuses on the opening of non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality.
It includes a date for when beauty salons can reopen, which is no earlier than 12 April.
Beauty salons, like hairdressers, fall under personal care services, which are expected to reopen on that date alongside shops, beer gardens, theme parks, indoor leisure facilities and self-contained holiday accommodation.
Which treatments will be allowed?
People will be pleased to know that close contact services will be allowed if salons open their doors then, such as eyelash and eyebrow treatments.
This is different to what happened in July 2020 following the easing of the first lockdown, as barbers were permitted to trim beards and eyebrows but there was still a ban on beauty salons offering facial treatments.
The decision caused an uproar, with some accusing the government of sexism.
What is the reopening subject to?
Whether beauty salons will open back up in April is dependent on if four strict new tests are met.
Only then will the government decide whether the country can progress to the next stage out of lockdown.
The key tests are:
- The vaccinations programme continues successfully
- Data shows that the jabs are effective in reducing hospital numbers and deaths in those inoculated
- Infection rates do not risk a rapid increase in hospitalisations, which would result in pressure on the NHS
- The government’s assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of the virus which cause concern.
Ministers have said the tests are currently being met so the first stage of the roadmap will go ahead on 8 March.
Could beauty salons reopen at the same time?
Boris Johnson also confirmed that restrictions would be eased nationally this time around.
Covid-19 measures will be relaxed step-by-step across the whole of England, instead of a return to the regional tiered system, he said.
That means beauty salons in different parts of the country will reopen at the same time.
Will there be Covid rules in beauty salons?
When beauty salons were open during the tier system they were instructed to operate in a Covid-secure manner.
It is likely that these rules will be reinstated when they open back up.
That included staff wearing face shields and masks, and plastic screens were set up to separate different beauty stations.
Appointments were reduced to limit the number of people in a salon at one time.
Salons were also not able to offer clients food or drinks during their appointment.
There were increased hygiene rules for both staff and clients in place, including hand sanitising and wiping down chairs, equipment and surfaces.