Face Visors and Type II Face Masks for Close Contact Services

 

In workplaces such as hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons and tattoo and photoshoot studios, it is likely to be difficult to maintain social distancing, as employees need to work in close proximity to their clients, usually for an extended period of time. An extended period of time refers to the majority of the working day, irrespective of the number of clients served during the day. The person providing a service (such as hairdressers, because of the period of time spent in close proximity to a person’s face, mouth and nose) should therefore wear further protection in addition to any that they might usually wear. Government

Guidance on Working Safely During Coronavirus for close contact services was updated on 13 August 2020 to state that practitioners providing those services should wear both a clear visor and a type II face mask (previously the advice was to wear a clear visor only).

The clear visor should cover the face, provide a barrier between the wearer and the client from respiratory droplets caused by sneezing, coughing or speaking. Visors must fit the user and be worn properly. It should cover the forehead, extend below the chin, and wrap around the side of the face.

Everyone working in close proximity for an extended period of time must wear both a face visor and a type II face mask. Type II face masks are surgical/medical 3-ply face masks (that conform to standard EN 14683). Both disposable and re-usable visors are available. A re-usable visor must be cleaned and sanitised regularly using normal cleaning products.

The advice for practitioners to wear both a face visor and a type II face mask also applies to services which require workers to be within the ‘highest risk zone’ of clients (defined as the area in front of the face where splashes and droplets from the nose and mouth, that may not be visible, can be present and pose a hazard from the client to the practitioner and vice versa), for the entire duration or the majority of the time the service is being provided (such as eyelash extensions, eyebrow threading, eyelash treatments and facials). These higher risk services were able to resume in England on 15 August 2020.

Face Coverings for clients receiving Close Contact Services

Since 8 August (unless the customer is exempted e.g. due to a disability), face coverings have been mandatory in England for customers visiting nail, beauty and hair salons, barbers, massage parlours, tattoo and piercing parlours. Face coverings should not be removed unless essential for a particular treatment, for example, for a treatment on the face area covered by the mask.

Government guidance states that businesses should take reasonable steps to encourage customer compliance, for example through in store communications or notices at the entrance. If necessary, police can issue fines to members of the public for non-compliance. Businesses will not be required to provide face coverings for their customers.

In instances where individuals are contacted via the test and trace service, having been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they will still need to self-isolate even if they are wearing a visor and type II face mask at work. This is because the risk of transmission cannot be ruled out, even if wearing a visor and type II face mask reduces that risk.

The guidance does not replace existing health and safety duties, but should be considered by businesses providing close contact services when assessing risk and implementing control measures.