Weeks of unkempt hairdos and terrible DIY buzz cuts could soon be at an end.
In a bid to “unleash the Great British haircut”, The Telegraph understands that Boris Johnson is considering proposals for hair salons and barber shops to reopen later this month.
Having previously indicated that hairdressers will remain shut until July, ministers are discussing moving forward the date as part of the drive to reopen the UK economy faster.
According to industry and Government sources, Downing Street believes that salons could be reopened as early as June 15, in order to coincide with the date that non-essential shops and businesses return.
Meanwhile, the Department for Business (BEIS) has begun drawing up social distancing guidance, similar to the instructions issued to dentists, which is expected to require hairdressers to wear face masks, perspex visors and gloves.
It comes after the Hair and Barber Council, which represents 11,000 salons across the country, urged ministers to reopen the sector within the next fortnight, adding that many businesses wanted to reopen.
Separately, a survey by the National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF) of 1,600 members found that 77 per cent of respondents were “very well prepared” or as “well prepared as they could be” to resume business when it is deemed safe to do so.
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also publicly expressed his desire to see hairdressers reopen quicker, although he last week refused to commit to a firm timetable.
Speaking to The Telegraph on Wednesday, one insider familiar with the plans said: “Hairdressers were supposed to be the next thing. Boris has talked about unleashing the great British haircut again. It would be treated under similar rules to dentists.”
They also claimed that an announcement on hairdressers had been due to be made last week, although Downing Street disputed this.
A Number 10 source refused to rule out hairdressers reopening from mid-June, although they insisted that no decision had been finalised.
They added that Mr Johnson was “moving cautiously” and that the Government was “monitoring the situation extremely carefully before making anymore moves.”
Guided by a taskforce of ministers and industry leaders, officials in BEIS are now drawing up detailed guidance for social distancing in salons and barber shops.
The guidance, which will advise staff working in “close proximity” to customers how they can operate safely, will also cover tattoo parlours and health and beauty spas.
While a draft version of the document has not yet been circulated, sources with knowledge of the plans say hairdressers will be required to adopt similar measures to dental practices, which are due to reopen from Monday next week.
These are said to include the removal of magazines from waiting areas, as well as advising against offering refreshments to customers.
Due to the need for physical contact, hairdressers are also expected to be asked to wear face masks, perspex visors and gloves, with customers also asked to wear face coverings.
A number of trade bodies have already issued interim guidance to help businesses prepare, with some salons installing booths and partitions to minimise contact between customers.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Hilary Hall, chief executive of the NHBF, said: “Most salons can figure out the social distancing in terms of retail shops, stopping people congregating around reception areas and keeping clients apart.
“But if you’re in a job that means you’re in close contact with clients, the PPE becomes particularly important. It’s that guidance that we’re very keen to see and to ensure that salons prepare for that.”
A Department for Business spokesman said: “The Government has set up task forces to work with industry representatives to develop safe ways for businesses such as hairdressers to open at the earliest point at which it is safe to do so.”