When can nail salons open in 2021? What the latest update means for your area

Now that the Prime Minister's "roadmap" has been revealed, here's when nail salons are likely to reopen in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

close up of woman having nails painted
(Image credit: Jim Craigmyle via Getty Images)

When can nail salons open again in 2021? With fresh restrictions put in place at the start of the year, it's one of the questions on many a beauty lover's lips whose DIY jobs just aren't cutting it.

Now that Boris Johnson has revealed his "roadmap" for England's exit from lockdown, we finally have an idea of when restrictions might ease across the UK.

While England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland remain in some form of lockdown for now, here's everything you need to know about when nail salons are likely to reopen in your area. 

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woman's hands having nails filed at salon

(Image credit: Ridofranz via Getty Images)

When can nail salons open again in England?

Provided the situation continues to improve, nail salons and hairdressers in England will be allowed to reopen from the 12th of April, according to Boris Johnson's "roadmap" for exiting lockdown. Salons will be given final confirmation that they can reopen a week in advance. 

This is subject to four criteria being met – the vaccine programme progresses as planned; vaccines are sufficiently reducing Covid deaths and the need for hospital treatment; current infection rates don’t risk a surge in hospital admissions; and new variants of the virus don’t change the risk level of easing lockdown. Should things change, this date will be pushed back further as well as the dates for subsequent stages. 

All non-essential shops and personal care services – including nail salons – have been closed since the start of January, when the PM announced that England would go into a third national lockdown.

When will nail salons open in Scotland?

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that the economy will start to reopen in the last week of April, including non-essential retail like hairdressers and nail salons. More guidance be given on exactly what can open and when in mid-March.

Like England, Scotland also went into a mainland-wide lockdown from Tuesday 5th January, meaning all beauty services have been closed since then. 

When can nail salons open in Wales?

While there's no official confirmation as to when nail salons will be able to open in Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said he hopes to begin to reopen non-essential retail around the 15th of March – although it is not clear if this would include nail salons. The next review of restrictions is due by the 12th of March. 

The country is currently at alert level four, the equivalent of a lockdown, meaning all personal care services – including nail salons – have been closed since the 20th of December. 

When can nail salons open in Northern Ireland?

The country's lockdown was recently extended until at least the 1st of April, so nail salons will not open before then. A review of the rules is due on the 18th of March, although it's not clear how soon restrictions on beauty services will be eased. 

Although the tier system is currently out of use, keep reading for a reminder of the rules for nail salons under tiers 2, 3 and 4 in case it comes back in to play. 

When can nail bars open in the UK?

(Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Are nail salons open in tier 4?

No. Under tier 4 restrictions, which were announced in December, all non-essential retail and personal care services must close, including nail salons. In England, beauty services are only open within tiers 1-3.

Can nail salons open in tier 3?

Yes, nail salons are open in tier 3. When England's tier system resumed at the start of December, the government confirmed that there would be no variation in rules between local areas – as was seen when Nottingham also closed beauty services when it moved into tier 3.

Can nail salons open in tier 2?

Yes. While restrictions are in place for socialising, under tier 2 rules beauty salons, nail bars and hairdressers are all able to stay open, providing that hygiene and social distancing measures are in place. 

How to get a nail appointment when salons reopen

When nail bars are finally allowed to reopen, it’s likely that you'll need a pre-booked appointment to comply with Covid-safe rules.

With the reduction in the number of people allowed inside at any one time, it’s likely fewer people will be able to have their nails done at once to allow space for 1m+ social distancing.

Beauty booking sites like Treatwell will save you Googling "nail salons near me", with appointments often available to book for the same day.

That said, you don’t have to wait for nail bars to open again to get a salon-worthy manicure or pedicure. Try one at home yourself with our recommendations for the best at-home gel nail products for a DIY manicure in lockdown.

With nails bars not reopening for the foreseeable future, it's one way to relax before you're finally back in the salon.

Lucy Abbersteen

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for the likes of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, OK!, Women's Health and more, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare tips to the latest product launches and the show-stopping beauty looks spotted backstage at London Fashion Week. During her career she's interviewed some seriously famous faces, from Little Mix to Drag Race royalty The Vivienne, as well as chatting to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists.