ABT offers directions to Members for following reopening roadmap

ABT, Ireland's largest Membership and Insurance providers, has issued information for salons as they prepare to begin trading again following the publication of the government's roadmap for reopening society and business.

Beauty salons and hairdressers have been placed in Phase 4 of lifting of the public health restrictions, in place to protect against the spread of Covid-19, which comes into action on Monday 20th July. 

It should be noted that this roadmap is subject to change and will only come into effect when the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) agrees that the conditions are right following successful Phases 1-3, however things are looking positive that the beauty and hair industry will be back to work during the third week of July.

Government has explained that restrictions will be gradually eased on higher risk services involving direct physical contact for periods of time between people and for which there is a population wide demand, for example salons.

The roadmap states that businesses offering services involving direct physical contact for which there is not population-wide demand, of which the government gives tattooing and piercing as examples, will only see a loosening of restrictions in Phase 5, which comes into force on Monday 10th August.

Dave Horton, ABT's Director, comments:

“Here at ABT we welcome the government's roadmap, which enables businesses within our industry to plan for a return to work on 20th July. Following the government's guidelines with regards to reopening beauty and hair businesses is vital, and we implore all ABT members to follow this. Whilst recent months have been extremely difficult, we are so proud of ABT members and non-members who have followed all public health measures despite the financial and emotional stress this has understandably caused. 

“It would be naïve to think that business will return to ‘normal' immediately, and we understand this will continue to be a trying time for beauty and hair salons, mobile therapists, nail techs and barbers across the country. ABT continues to be here for our members, with the team available via Live Chat at www.abtinsurance.ie, and by telephone (1800 625 180 from a landline or 0044 1789 773434 from a mobile).”

Limiting numbers in the salon
Guidance is that measures such as staggered hours should be implemented to limit the number of workers interacting with each other. Social distancing should be maintained, as should existing health and safety requirements. Government will announce pre-18th May (when Phase 1 comes into force) as to whether the wearing of face masks in public areas will be required. 

nail technician wearing proetctive face mask doing manicure in beauty salon
Beauty salons and hairdressers have been placed in Phase 4 of lifting of the public health restrictions, in place to protect against the spread of Covid-19, which comes into action on Monday 20th July.
Clients travelling to the salon
Clients will also be able to travel to your salon on or after 20th July, with travel distance restrictions lifted, and restrictions on the numbers travelling in major urban centres on public transport and in private cars gradually decreased.

Safety in the salon
Although you should have been practising good health and hygiene within your working environment pre-Covid-19, clients visiting your salon once you reopen are likely to have higher expectations of this. It has become the norm for us all to practice good hand hygiene and sanitisation, and clients will be looking for this in your salon to give them peace of mind that it's safe for them to be there. If you're an employer, you also have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of your staff in the workplace too.

You must practice in line with the government's guidelines with regards to social distancing, hand washing and wearing face masks, should this come into force. Put together a ‘best practice' guide to implement in the salon and ensure that all staff members follow this. This could include, but is not limited to:

  • Allowing a limited number of clients into the premises in line with social distancing rules. You may wish to keep the salon door locked to prevent clients walking in early.
  • Restrict waiting areas, so that everyone can maintain social distancing. 
  • Explaining to all clients on arrival what the procedure will be to ensure their safety. 
  • Ensuring all clients wash their hands with soap or sanitiser as soon as they enter the premises.
  • Ensuring all staff wash or use hand sanitiser at regular intervals.
  • Sanitising all surfaces that clients and staff come into contact with, including nail tables, couches/massage tables, chairs and reception tables in addition to door handles and toilet facilities, between every client visit. 
  • Sanitising all tools between every treatment / appointment.
  • Using disposable couch roll at all times, and fresh towels for every client. Do not use covers, throws or blankets shared between different clients. 
  • Wear a clean / disposable apron for every client.
  • Wear a face mask and / or facial visor during treatments especially those such as facials which require closer physical contact.
  • Don't allow clients to touch retail products. Sanitise anything that your clients or members of staff may touch including product testers. Ensure only staff dispense a sample of product from a sample bottle.
Once you have compiled a ‘best practice' plan that conforms with government guidelines, you could publish on your salon website so that it's accessible to clients and help alleviate any concerns they may have about visiting your salon. 

Government financial support
Government has implemented a number of schemes for employees, self-employed and small businesses during Covid-19 restrictions. 

Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
Regardless of whether you are employed or self-employed, if you have lost your job or have been laid off temporarily because your place of work is closed due to Covid-19, you can apply for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment. Information is available online.

Covid-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit
Regardless of whether you are employed or self-employed, if you have been diagnosed with Covid-19 or are medically certified to self-isolate as a result of Covid-19, you can apply for Illness Benefit for Covid-19 absences which is higher than the standard rate. Information is available online.

Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme
If you are self-employed and pay yourself as a PAYE worker through your payroll, you can apply for the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme from the Revenue Commissioners. This scheme is also available for employers who have lost at least 25% of their trade;  you can claim 70% of your employees' net wage back (up to a maximum of €410) through this scheme. Information is available online.

Short Time Work Support
Those placed on a shorter working week temporarily, e.g. if your employer cuts your regular hours to enable the salon to operate social distancing, you can apply for Short Time Work Support in respect of your regular salary for the days that you are no longer working. Information is available online.

ABT Membership & Insurance
If your ABT membership is due for renewal, or has lapsed during lockdown, remember to renew now. It's imperative that you keep continual cover in place at this moment in time. Continuous coverage refers to having insurance coverage without any lapses. It is important as it may have legal ramifications if a claim is made against you or you need to make a claim in regard to your contents and equipment policies.

If you don't currently have insurance, choose a policy that's right for you, don't underestimate the amount of insurance cover you will need, and be aware of exclusions, claims excesses, patch test requirements, extra charges and endorsements. In addition, choose a policy that is ‘claims occurring' wording to get long term protection.

ABT's policies includes €6.5 million each of Professional Liability Insurance, Public Liability Insurance, Product Liability Insurance, and Medical Malpractice/Treatment Risk Insurance, and you can add new treatments to the policy as your skills grow. To join, visit www.abtinsurance.ie, or (1800 625 180 from a landline or 0044 1789 773434 from a mobile.