England: Guidance and Support
Masks are currently compulsory within enclosed settings such as shops, salons, and public transport – hospitality settings are exempt. The rules on mask wearing will be monitored by the government over the coming weeks.
In England, people that are infected with Covid now only need to self-isolate for five full days if they test negative twice – taking a lateral flow test on day five and six.
The new guidance can be used by people who are isolating after testing positive for Covid, regardless of their vaccination status. But those who are not double jabbed will still have to isolate for the full 10 days if they are a close contact of a positive case.
People should not end their isolation early if they are still experiencing symptoms.
People who are fully vaccinated and identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 should take an NHS rapid lateral flow test every day for 7 days to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This aims to reduce pressures on people’s everyday lives by replacing the requirement for Omicron contacts to isolate for 10 days.
Additional Restrictions Grant
The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) provides local councils with grant funding to support businesses that are severely impacted by restrictions, and that may or may not be in the business rates system.
It is down to your local council to determine which businesses they support and determine the amount of funding provided from the ARG scheme. The government did state that the additional support was for businesses impacted by Omicron such as those who supply the hospitality and leisure sectors. Those being hardest hit.
It is also down to your local council to determine the eligibility criteria for these grants. So, you will need to contact/keep an eye on your local council’s website as to whether your salon will be eligible for help under this scheme.
Local councils have been encouraged to support businesses from sectors that remain closed or severely impacted by the extended restrictions, even if those businesses have already been in receipt of Restart Grants. This may include the:
- Travel and tourism sector
- Wedding industries
- Events industries
- English language schools
- Freelance and mobile businesses including caterers, events, hair, beauty and wedding related businesses
Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
The government will continue to cover the cost of statutory sick pay for covid-related absences for small and medium-sized businesses in the UK. The scheme reopens mid-January 2022!
How it works…
You can claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP if:
- You have already paid your employee’s sick pay (use the SSP calculator to work out how much to pay)
- You’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
- You have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
- You had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes
Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim. But you can ask them to give you either:
- An isolation note from NHS 111 – if they are self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus (COVID-19)
- A ‘shielding note’ or a letter from their doctor or health authority advising them to shield because they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus
You can make more than one claim per employee, but you cannot claim for more than 2 weeks in total.
A ‘qualifying day’ is a day an employee usually works on. The weekly rate was £95.85 before 6 April 2021 and is now £96.35. If you’re an employer who pays more than the weekly rate of SSP you can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.
Records you must keep
- You must keep records of SSP that you’ve paid and want to claim back from HMRC.
- You must keep the following records for 3 years after the date you receive the payment for your claim:
- The dates the employee was off sick
- Which of those dates were qualifying days
- The reason they said they were off work – if they had symptoms, someone they lived with had symptoms or they were shielding
- The employee’s National Insurance number
- You’ll need to print or save your state aid declaration (from your claim summary) and keep this until 31 December 2024.
How to claim
You must have paid your employees’ sick pay before you claim it back. You can claim back coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay using the online service.
Close Contact Services Guidance
Full details on the guidance that salons and freelancers must consider can be found here.
COVID-19 related screening questions to be asked of clients ahead of their appointment, including:
- Have you had the recent onset of a new continuous cough?
- Do you have a high temperature?
- Have you noticed a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell?
If the client has any of these symptoms, however mild, they should stay at home and reschedule their appointment.
Client Information Collection and NHS App
It is mandatory for all salons in England to collect client information when attending their appointment. The information you will need to collect is the client's name, contact details, date of appointment, and time of arrival and departure. As almost all salons use a booking system or diary, this should be sufficient for you to continue taking your client details with. If you do not use such a system, then you will need to start collecting your clients details for track and trace.
In addition to this law is the NHS COVID-19 app. It is mandatory for all salons to display their unique QR code in the salon ready for clients to scan should they be using the app. You can download your QR code here.