The effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic are creating a Corona-crisis for the salon and spa industry. In an effort to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, many non-essential businesses have been ordered to close or have employees work from home. When you’re providing professional beauty services, that just isn’t possible, especially if you're also adhering to the practice of self-isolation and social distancing. However, these drastic measures are deemed necessary to confront the outbreak head-on and slow its viral spread.
While the situation may look bleak right now and may be making life very difficult, this will pass and things will eventually return to “normal.” The good news is you’re not losing business to the salon or spa down the street as they too are closed. Your clients are also unlikely to be doing their own hair, nails, facials, and massages, so they’ll be eager to get back into your capable hands as soon as this is all over. In the meantime, what can you be doing while you’re waiting to get back to work?
BECOME GERM AWARE
The coronavirus outbreak has, for many people, meant a crash course on the subject of germs, their transmission, and how to deal with an outbreak. However, the practice of infection prevention is not new to salons and spas, given that regulations, state guidelines, and best practices have been in place for decades to protect professional beauty workers and their clients. This may be a good opportunity to refresh your knowledge and get a good understanding of the impact germs can have on your business and client interactions. There are many online resources at your fingertips, like the educational course offered by Rejuvenate Disinfectants covering germ basics, such as where bacteria, viruses, and fungi lurk in salons and spas and how to reduce the risk of infections. At the conclusion of the course, you can obtain a personalized certificate and access to other resources. By becoming germ aware, you’ll become more informed and confident, knowing you’re employing the best cleaning and disinfection practices in your facility—something you will be able to share with your colleagues, employees, clients, and family alike.
If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the importance of being prepared and having processes in place to address the spread of germs before they lead to an outbreak. What is the state of your spa’s readiness and to what degree are your employees and colleagues following the same practices and protocols? There’s little benefit to having one clean and disinfected area next to another where germs are allowed free reign—infection will spread wherever it can. Your protocols should address questions like:
- What is your policy regarding clients who are sick and present with flu-like symptoms or have nail fungal infections?
- What cleaning and disinfection practices take place between each client service or treatment?
- What state directives or cosmetology board guidelines regulate your business or treatments?
- How did you select the cleaners and disinfectants you’re using in your salon or spa? Are you and your staff/colleagues fully aware of the use instructions and precautionary statements listed on the labels or safety data sheets (SDS)?
- What is your onboarding process to ensure all new employees or fellow workers obtain the same level of training and knowledge?
- Do you have protocols posted as a visual reminder of what steps need to be taken to effectively clean and disinfect tools, equipment, and surfaces?
Just as a pilot undertakes a pre-flight checklist to ensure everything is ready for take-off, you too can go through your own process of what needs to be done before, during and after every service and treatment to ensure the safety of your clients, colleagues, and most importantly, you.
DO A DEEP CLEAN
Spring is generally a time associated with a big clean, so perhaps now is the time to undertake that top to bottom scrub of your facility. Maybe a fresh coat of paint, replacement of some old and tired furniture, or investment in new equipment is just what this downtime calls for. Take a look at your cleaning supply cupboard and make an inventory of the products you are using. Are they the right match for your disinfection protocols? Do they kill the germs relevant to your salon or spa? Are they safe for everyday use or do they come with some potentially harsh side effects after prolonged exposure (like bleach)? When was the last time you looked at the expiration date on your disinfectant products? Coming back to work, you’ll want to ensure the products you are using are still effective and have not expired. As you walk through your treatment areas, there will be lots of areas that stand out—now is the time to get to them.
COMMUNICATE WITH CLIENTS
No doubt you’ve received any number of COVID-19 updates from companies you regularly deal with keeping you apprised of the latest developments. During this time, you should also be communicating with your own clients through email, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social channels to share what’s going on. Let them know what steps you’re taking to maintain a germ-free facility and the protocols you're putting in practice to ensure everyone’s future safety. Take a look at your website—is there a section there that addresses your business’s position when it comes to infection prevention? Social distancing shouldn’t extend to digital silence, so now is the time to get out there and communicate with your clients—they will listen.
UPDATE YOUR MARKETING MATERIALS
If you’re more of a traditional promoter or marketer, your print pieces, in-store posters, and point of purchase displays can also be updated to include some reassuring language outlining the steps you’re taking to maintain a germ-free facility. Use those pieces as an opportunity to engage with your clients and share your advanced awareness and knowledge of infection prevention. Easily accessible disinfecting wipes and tent cards on workstations are also a good way of letting your clients know you’re taking disinfecting steps between each service. Combined with client engagement and education, this could just be what distinguishes your spa from others. And while we may not see another pandemic the likes of COVID-19 for some time, smaller outbreaks are likely to be the new norm, so it’s good to be proactive.
It was once said that “necessity is the mother of invention,” and that has never been more relevant than in these difficult times. Salons and spas are certainly taking a beating from the virus, but the perseverance and ingenuity of the professional beauty industry is fighting back with initiatives and preparation for a return to normalcy—for instance, offering discounted gift certificates to maintain cash flow. The coronavirus outbreak was a wake-up call for many that the germs that can lead to a pandemic or a skin infection cannot be taken for granted. With knowledge, planning, and determination, you can make a difference by keeping you, your clients, and your spa safe when that “Open for Business” sign goes back on the door.
About the Author: Nicole Kenny is the Vice President of Professional and Technical Services for Virox Pro Beauty. She has more than 20 years of experience as a technical consultant, educator, trainer and author working in the field of environmental science, environmental hygiene and chemical disinfection for infection prevention and biosecurity.
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