15 May 2020

The Government’s Worksafe website has been updated with Alert Level 2 requirements for close contact and proximity businesses and services, including the following:

For physical distancing you are required to:

  • ensure all people keep one metre away from each other and from workers wherever possible, except where physical contact or close proximity is required to deliver the service
  • keep workers apart one metre to the extent practicable
  • mitigate the risks where physical distancing requirements cannot be fully met
  • have no gatherings of more than 10 people within one metre.

For contact tracing you are required to:

  • keep contact tracing records for all people who enter the work premises or use its services including workers.

These businesses and services must also follow the general requirements for all businesses and services, where they don’t contradict the specific requirements.
When working closer than one metre people aren’t required to wear PPE, like masks. However many workers and customers may want workers to wear masks.
If you choose to use PPE, the type is up to you and should be based on the level of risk for your business or service (e.g. number of people (workers and clients), the working proximity, the physical work area, ventilation of the area, and the time length of time people are together).

Work should only be completed within one metre if it can’t otherwise be achieved. The time spent in close proximity needs to be kept to a minimum. At all other times, a one metre distance should be maintained.

13 May 2020

The Ministry of Health have updated their website with specific advice for hairdressers, barbers and beauty therapists operating at Level 2. It details basic hygiene measures to be followed and includes this statement about PPE:
“As a precautionary measure for the initial phase of Alert Level 2, while we ensure the risk of exposure to COVID-19 continues to be very low, for people whose work cannot avoid close contact with clients (under 1 metre) for prolonged periods of time (longer than 15 minutes), with multiple clients being seen over the course of the day (eg, hairdressers and beauticians) a face mask or face shield can be worn as an additional measure to adhering with basic hygiene measures. No other PPE is required, other than items the worker may usually wear for protection from standard occupational risks. This advice is likely to change as we move through Alert Level 2.”

11 May 2020

Hairdressing, barbering and beauty therapy businesses will be able to re-open on Thursday 14 May, provided they:
• have a robust contact tracing system in place
• maintain good hygiene practices
• minimise contact to the extent possible.

Guidelines on wearing Personal Protective Equipment such as masks are being developed by Government and HITO will share these when available.

We are rescheduling Off-Job Training dates and will email employers and apprentices new dates.

7 May 2020

The Government announced today that hairdressers, barbers and beauty therapists will be able to operate when the country moves to Level 2 provided they:

  • have a robust contact tracing system in place
  • maintain good hygiene practices
  • minimise contact to the extent possible.

There will be specific guidelines produced for our industry settings, which HITO will share when we receive.

General information for business operation at Level 2 is available on the COVID-19 website

The Government will make an announcement on Monday May 11 about when the country will move to Level 2.

20 April 2020

The Government announced today that the country would move to Alert Level 3 on the morning of April 28. At this level, hairdressing, barbering, beauty therapy and other services which involve close personal contact will NOT be able to open.

Businesses may sell retail product online or over the phone, as long as delivery is contactless and staff follow strict distancing and hygiene procedures. For more information, see the Level 3 guidelines on the COVID-19 website

New tax measures and business consultancy support (including HR, business continuity and financial management advice) will be introduced to help small businesses.

On May 11, the Government will review the alert levels again. HITO will update employers and learners on training at work and off-job training at that time.

1 April 2020

Hairdressing and barbering off-job training classes due to take place in May (as well as April) will be rescheduled for later in the year. This is to ensure apprentices have enough time to prepare for in-class assessments and to assist employers with their planning when they are able to re-open for business.

30 March 2020

Unfortunately some of our Year 3 hairdressing apprentices will have their Finals Assessments rescheduled due to COVID-19 restrictions. Please be assured that you will not be charged extra fees for this delay – HITO fees are capped and once the fees are paid in full you will not need to pay more. For more information, check the Fees page

For inspiration and motivation during the isolation period, follow us on Facebook and see our post Continuing Your Learning During Lockdown

23 March 2020

Following the Government’s announcement that the country is now locked down to prevent the spread of COVID-19, HITO staff will now be working from home for at least four weeks.

We expect all hairdressing, beauty therapy and barbering businesses will close for this period.

Off Job Training and Assessments will not take place during lockdown, we will notify employers and apprentices when they can be rescheduled.

Our expectation is that with the Government subsidy available, business owners will be able to keep apprentices employed.

Our Sales and Training Advisors are available via phone, email or Skype if you would like to touch base.

We will post answers to commonly asked questions on this website.

17 March 2020

The Government’s COVID-19 support package includes wage and leave subsidies to help employers retain staff if their business has lost (or is expected to lose) 30% or more in revenue due to the virus.

16 March 2020

HITO is following all Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health guidelines and will notify apprentices, trainees and employers if adjustments are required to off-job training or training site visits at workplaces due to COVID-19.

If an apprentice is well, they should attend work and any scheduled off-job training classes as usual. If they are not well, they should stay at home. Read the Government’s leave guidelines for employers and employees

If an apprentice is in isolation due to COVID-19 precautions, they may request to change the repayment schedule for their HITO fees.

We encourage employers and apprentices to be vigilant around hygiene practices to keep themselves safe and prevent the spread of infection.


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