Hair salons in Germany reopen on Monday – but with strict rules

Hairdressers and barbers are expecting a wave of customers when salons in Germany reopen on Monday after a seven-week long compulsory break during the corona crisis.

Hair salons in Germany reopen on Monday - but with strict rules
A man in Dresden receives a hair cut with a mask during a press appointment on Monday morning. Photo: DPA

“There will simply be a rush [to receive a cut]”, the General Manager of the Central Association of the German Hairdressing Trade, Jörg Müller, told DPA.

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Germany in May 2020

But because of the restrictions, fewer people can have their locks trimmed at the same time. For example, many salons will have to make do with fewer chairs because of the required minimum distance of 1.5 metres, said Müller.

New federal guidelines also state that customers must also receive a hair wash in order to kill off possible viruses. Hairdressers must therefore be prepared to set aside more time with each customer, said Müller.

Customers will also have to adjust to some cutbacks. “Face-related services such as eyebrow and eyelash tinting, shaving and beard trims may not be carried out at present,” the guidelines state.

This particularly affects barbers who specialize in beards. In future, they will only be able to offer men's haircuts.

A customer in Kiel receives a hair cut on Monday morning. Photo: DPA

Salons are also advised to avoid blow drying the hair, and to only accept appointments online or over the phone. Typical pre-corona salon additions during the waiting time, such as a cup of coffee or magazine, will also have to be avoided.

According to Müller, hair salons will also feel the effects of the regulations on their sales, even as they raise their prices to compensate for the additional measures.

The mandatory disposable gloves and face masks are currently expensive, partially due to their high demand, which places an additional burden on the operators, Müller said.

As a result of the enormous loss during their mandatory time out of operation, the Hairdressing and Cosmetics Association of Baden-Württemberg predicts several salons won't be able to survive going forward.

 “Companies without reserves are particularly threatened by insolvency,” said association manager Matthias Moser.

Hair salons, like many businesses deemed inessential, had to close their doors mid-March, with many employees applying for “Kurzarbeit”, or government aid when working hours are reduced.

Police, however, caught a few instances of hair salons operating illegally, such as a basement salon in Bavaria which busted by undercover police at the end of April.

READ ALSO: Bavarian police bust cellar hairdressers


Compulsory break – (die) Zwangspause

Scare away – abschrecken 

Hair wash – Haarwäsche

Eyebrows – (die) Augenbrauen

Burden – belasten

We're aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.


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EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

Due to high Covid infection numbers throughout the summer, it’s now possible to get a sick note from a doctor over the phone again for some illnesses. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

What’s happened?

In spring 2020, German authorities changed the law so that people with a mild upper respiratory tract illness, such as the common cold, were able to get an incapacity to work certificate or AU-Bescheinigung by simply calling and speaking to their GP.

The rule was extended several times and finally reversed on June 1st this year due to falling infection figures. Since then people have had to go back to the practice – or do a video call if the doctor’s office has that system in place – to get a sick note.

Now, due to a decision by the Joint Federal Committee, the regulation has been reintroduced and patients can call their GP again for a sick note.

Can I get a sick note over the phone for any illness?

No. As before, the regulation only applies to patients suffering from a mild upper respiratory tract illness. Though Covid has not explicitly been named in the announcement, it seems that it is intended to be covered by the regulation.

If the doctor is convinced that the patient is unfit for work after a telephone consultation, then they can issue a sick note for up to seven days.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The changes around doctor’s notes in Germany you should know

If the symptoms persist after seven days, the certificate can be extended once more for another week.

Why now?

According to the Chairman of the G-BA, Josef Hecken, the regulation has been introduced now as a response to rising Covid numbers and in anticipation of the cold and flu season in the coming months: “We want to avoid full waiting rooms in doctors’ offices and the emergence of new infection chains,” he said.

The telephone sick leave rule is a simple, proven and uniform nationwide solution for that, he said. The rule is also necessary because video consultation hours are not yet available everywhere.

What else should I know?

The health insurer DAK is calling for telephone sick leave in the case of light respiratory diseases to be made possible on a permanent basis in Germany. DAK’s CEO Andreas Storm said that this should “not always be up for debate, because it has proven itself.” 

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about making a doctor’s appointment in Germany

The social association VdK also welcomed the reintroduction of the rule. The VdK’s President Verena Bentele said that the regulation would help to protect high-risk groups in particular from potential infections.

What are the rules to know about sick notes in Germany?

Germany has a strict system in place. If you are sick, you need to give your employer a Krankmeldung (notification of sickness) before the start of work on the first day (of your illness).

However, you also need to hand in a Krankschreibung (doctor’s note) on the fourth day of your illness. Some employments contracts, however, require you to submit a sick not earlier than the fourth day so check with your boss or HR on that point.