It's safe to say that it is going to be a different environment as spas and salons open back up. COVID-19 has made it so that new safety and sanitation tips, and guidelines need to be put into place to protect both the clients of the spa and the employees.
“This is especially relevant to hairdressers, nail technicians, estheticians and massage therapists who do not have the luxury of distancing themselves from their clients or working behind plexiglass,” says Jeff Alford, president of The CBON Group. Alford continues, “ If beauty professionals are to return to their jobs and work in an environment that is safe for staff and clients alike, significant changes will need to take place representing a shift to a 'new norm' or 2.0 version of the industry from which we may never go back.”
The CBON Group is planning to deliver Pre-Opening and Post-Opening Protocol handbooks with precise educational solutions to support the industry’s infection-prevention needs. Alford and the CBON Group team provided some tips for spa professionals to keep in mind as they plan and begin to reopen their businesses.
Education is Key
Expect to see a change in the general education of infection prevention post COVID-19. The CBON group emphasized how returning workers and reopening spas and salons will need to become educated on the risks posed by germs quickly. They also predict that the role of "infection prevention practitioner" will accompany spa's titles in the new normal that is being created.
This one may not surprise to many people in theory, but the action of it being carried out will still feel very different. Many salons and spas that have opened have adapted a method of the client waiting in the car, and the employee will come out to the client's car to take their temperature and, if that clears, bring them in for their service or treatment.
CBON Group further addresses this by stating that apart from seeing an elimination of waiting areas, there may also be a reduction in workstations, fewer appointments and other steps taken to distance clients from staff and each other. Some companies have even adopted having the checkout system be taken care of entirely online (including tipping systems) to avoid extra contact with the front desk.
Other changes the CBON Group points out that could definitely change the game, at least for a little while include: blow dry hair stations being closed, nail technicians and estheticians wearing face shields and massage therapists wearing gloves. This is all to eliminate person-to-person contact as much as possible.
Even though people often tend to use the spa when they aren't feeling 100% themselves, the seriousness of client screenings is taking a whole new meaning. Alford emphasizes how with there being no current vaccine, spas will need to take the appropriate measures to make sure their clients are in no way sick before entering the spa. This is not only to protect other clients they may come into contact with but the employees as well. Customers should expect rigorous screening at the door that includes a checklist of symptoms, temperature test and the requirement to wear face masks while receiving a service.
Increased Sanitation Practices
This is another step that may not seem too surprising, but it is astronomically important when reopening the spa. Some considerations to keep in mind is not only knowing the proper cleansing steps, but also making sure spa professionals have enough time to fully sanitize a station in between appointments.
Disinfecting all client touch points includes places like the workstation, treatment furniture, counters, waiting areas, bathrooms, door handles, light switches etc. The CBON Group encourages spa and salon professionals to fully investigate all of their options when choosing disinfectants for their business, as they are not all the same. They further provide examples of what to look for in saying to make sure the disinfectant specifically says it works on the COVID-19 virus strain, as well as check if there are any harsh chemicals or side effects to be aware of.
Alford's Top 5 Key Strategies
- Get all staff to attend infection control classes;
- Do a pre-opening deep clean and disinfecting (including making sure hospital grade disinfectants such as Preempt are used);
- Purchase all PPE for staff and clients;
- Clearly communicate with clients and staff what procedures must be followed during each client visit; and
- Record the names and telephone numbers of each customer in case of tracing needed.
CBON’s website and free downloadable before and after opening procedure manuals are designed to safely and comprehensively address the “new normal” while empowering the age-old indispensability of human connection.