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Joe Mills: Barbers to run teams in bubbles to reduce risk

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Case studies, Working safely

Hairdresser Joe Mills runs three separate brands, with salons in London, Birmingham and Manchester, which are preparing to reopen following government guidance.

Joe & Co barber store

Joe, who employs 45 people, talks us through what the business has been doing to get ready to welcome back customers to Mills Barbers, Joe & Co and The Lounge Soho. He said:

“We currently have a working date of 4 July to reopen. Our business is based on our clientele and, if we were not to open, we could lose them, our team members and the business we have worked hard to build. When we do open, we will initially bring 80% of our workforce back full-time.

We have looked at everything we do, from careful financial planning, robust health and safety, and full risk assessments. We have also consulted with teams to find out how they feel about coming back to work and any concerns they may have, and we will add another layer of precautions and measures as a result.”

Measures include:

  • Ensuring chairs are safely distanced, in line with government guidelines
  • Rotating teams in bubble groups on split shifts to limit the potential of having to quarantine the whole shop if anyone contracts coronavirus or a client is contact traced
  • Allowing an additional 15 minutes to each service to allow time to clean down with a comprehensive cleaning schedule
  • Providing PPE to staff and clients at the shops and changing it frequently
  • Placing hand sanitisers at the entrance and displaying signs throughout to help clients and ensure staff can assist customers in navigating the shops safely
  • Using new disposable towels and gowns for each client and disposing of these at the end of that service
  • Asking clients to prepay bookings to limit interaction
  • Staging start and finish times so there are never more than two people arriving at any one time to help with social distancing
  • Providing clear communication to clients on what to expect and what the experience will be like so that staff can work safely and efficiently

Joe added: “We are also providing full team training on new ways of working and the management of cleaning and the client journey.

We’ve developed this from government guidance, advice through the industry and speaking to other professionals around Europe.

We’ve looked at what worked for them and how they operate now to make sure we can welcome back our clients and give them a safe experience and a much-needed cut.”

During the pandemic Joe’s staff have been on furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and he has accessed a Hospitality, Leisure and Retail Grant to keep his business going.

Joe & Co barber exterior

The government has published COVID-19 secure guidance to support businesses to reopen, and keep workers and customers safe so they feel confident to return. To find out about measures your business needs to implement to reopen safely, there is an online tool, which will direct you to guidelines specific to your type of workplace.

If you run a business and would like to know which of the coronavirus support schemes you are eligible for, you can use the business support finder tool. It takes just minutes to complete and will help you easily find support for your business.

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