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Economy Minister Diane Dodds has welcomed the publication of updated workplace guidance to help close contact services continue to operate safely.

'Keeping workers and clients safe during COVID-19 in close contact services' offers Northern Ireland-specific advice to the sector on how to operate workplaces safely while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19.

The Minister said: “The publication of this updated guidance aims to help business owners ensure they are operating safely and within Northern Ireland legislation.

“It is vital we protect workers and reassure clients that businesses are operating safely and this document sets how close contact services can operate while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19.”

Close contact services are defined as including hairdressing, barbering, beauty, aesthetics, nails, make-up, tattoo, tanning, spa, sports and massage therapy, well-being and holistic locations, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers.

The guidance is also designed for those who provide mobile close contact services from their homes and in other people’s homes, delivering the close contact services detailed above in allied sectors such as the arts or entertainment, those in retail environments, as well as those studying hair and beauty in vocational training environments.

The Minister added: “My Department has worked closely with industry and public bodies in ensuring that the advice offered in 'Keeping workers and clients safe during COVID-19 in close contact services' is both practical and adheres to public health recommendations. However, given the varying nature of businesses within this sector, each employer will need to translate this into the specific actions it needs to take, depending on the nature of their business, including the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated.”

The guidance is available on nibusinessinfo at https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-working-safely-different-business-settings