How to safely reopen your salon during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The health and safety of your salon clients and staff should be a top priority, so we have put together some tips to help your salon, spa or barbershop business to prepare to reopen.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we must conduct our business. To keep our workplaces healthy and safe, we must implement new hygiene protocols consistent with advice from our government health authorities.
This article explains how to safely reopen your salon, spa or barbershop including how to prepare your salon environment, staff members and clients.
Prepare The Salon Environment.
Before you reopen your salon, preparing the environment is a critical task all owners should undertake to ensure the safety of everyone who attends your premises. Everybody in society has the responsibility of doing their best to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
So here goes.
Stock Up On Supplies Before You Reopen Your Salon.
Make sure you have sufficient amounts of hand sanitizer and liquid soaps for staff and clients to use multiple times over the day.
The same goes for adequate quantities of hospital-grade disinfectant, cleaning and laundry products and other cleaning paraphernalia, like cloths, paper towels, rubber gloves, etc.
You may need to buy extra towels, capes, smocks or other items requiring changing between each client.
Check the rules and regulations regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) use in your state or country. You can usually find out this information by going to the government health authority in your state or country.
Depending on the requirements, you may need to stock up on gloves, masks or face shields. Take into account that you will have to change gloves etc. between each client.
Click on the links below for your countries requirements.
Cleaning And Disinfecting Your Salon.
Cleaning and Disinfecting surfaces are two very different procedures that must be combined to be effective in killing germs.
It is essential that you clean before you disinfect. Cleaning removes loose soiling, particles or spills and prepares the surface for disinfection.
Whereas, disinfecting kills germs like viruses and bacteria on the surface and prevents spread. If the surface you disinfect is not clean underneath, bacteria and viruses can hide under these spots and reduce the efficacy of the disinfectant
Before you reopen your salon, commence a deep clean with hospital grade disinfectant, even if you left your salon in a clean state before closing. Ensure all surface areas are disinfected, including but not limited to the suggestions below. Also, remember to clean and disinfect every item and surface used between clients.
All hard or non-porous surfaces such as; floors, benchtops, mirrors, sinks and taps, doors and doorknobs, chairs, arm and headrests, front desk, phones, computers, EFTPOS/credit card machines and pens, as well as electrical appliances.
Disinfect all treatment equipment like laser machines, hairdryers, tools, brushes, shears, clippers, rolling carts, treatment beds, Pedi and mani equipment, shampoo basins, hoses and nozzles plus, any other equipment you use on a client. Don’t forget to disinfect products you touch during treatments such as hairspray, serums, cleansers, etc.
For porous surfaces such as fabric-covered chairs, consider covering with plastic or removing altogether.
Clean all areas of the restroom including the whole of the toilet, sinks, taps (faucets), floors, sanitary bins, etc. The same goes for your laundry area.
Don’t forget to give the same treatment to any staffrooms or common areas including disinfecting fridges, kettles or other electrical appliances, benchtops, storage cupboards, shelves, tables and chairs, etc.
Cleaning And Disinfecting Resources.
To learn more about cleaning and disinfectant guidelines in the workplace, click on the following links for advice in your country.
Social Distancing Measures.
Before you reopen your salon space all workstations at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart. Use tape to measure and mark floor areas to prompt strict social distancing among staff and clients.
Ensure a sufficient workspace area for each employee and workstation with at least a 4sqm surrounding area.
If possible, consider using sneeze guards or divider shields to separate workstations. Here is an example of a sneeze guard.
Once again, always check with your local health authority to learn the best possible social distancing practice.
Linens, Towels, Capes And Smocks.
Before you reopen your salon be sure to wash all linens, towels, capes and smocks.
Make sure you use a hot setting on your washing machine to ensure a thorough clean. Use freshly washed hands to remove linen from the dryer or clothesline. Ensure all washing is completely dried before storage.
Place these freshly washed items in a cupboard or closed area to maintain their hygiene. Ensure you take out any clean washing with clean hands in-between clients.
Make sure you have a container with a lid to store all used washable items between each client and wash at the end of each day.
Draw Up A New Procedure Policy Before You Reopen.
Before you reopen your salon, decide on mandatory protocols you would like your staff and clients to follow. Write up all requirements and email this document to all staff members.
That way, everyone has a clear understanding. Ask your staff to sign the new protocol directive after reading to ensure understanding and follow-through.
This policy also covers your business in the event of any situations that may arise.
Price increases are always a sensitive subject in the salon industry. However, you are running a business, and your time is money. You are investing more time to follow the new COVID-19 requirements. Plus, you will be spending more on any personal protective equipment (PPE) you are required to use.
Furthermore, you will be seeing fewer clients due to social distancing measures. If you feel comfortable increasing your salon prices to reflect the additional requirements, your clients will surely understand and be happy to pay a little extra. After all, you are doing this to ensure their health and safety.
Before you reopen your salon, download or make your own informational posters to prompt both staff and clients to follow hygiene and social distancing protocols.
Place a sign at or near the entry point of your salon, prompting staff and clients to wash hands upon entry.
Display a sign on your front reception desk asking clients to pay by card only. Also, provide signage with regards to the steps you are asking your clients to take, such as wearing a mask or checking their temperature upon arrival.
Place instructional handwashing posters in your staff room or near hand basins to remind staff of required cleaning and personal hygiene duties.
The back of the toilet door is an excellent place to display instructional posters as they are sure to be seen and read.
Prepare The Waiting Area.
To ensure the health and safety of your clients, make sure all chairs are at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart before you reopen. Alternatively, you could consider removing chairs altogether and request clients to wait outside or in their car.
Provide a hand sanitizer pump near your entry or on the reception desk and request all clients sanitize their hands upon arrival.
Remove all magazines, menus or pamphlets from the waiting room as these can be a source of contamination.
Place visible signage in the waiting area to communicate all the hygiene protocols you are undertaking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conveying transparency to your clients regarding your hygiene protocols can help to lessen your client’s anxieties and ensure they feel comfortable in your salon.
Prepare Your Staff.
Provide A Safe Workplace.
Providing a safe workplace is your duty as an employer.
Before you reopen your salon, hold a meeting to educate staff on the new protocols. If possible, hold a virtual meeting or conduct the meeting outside while practicing proper social distancing.
Educate employees on how to perform the tasks mentioned above, such as; cleaning, disinfecting, laundry, and the correct use of PPE.
You may also want to draw up a written protocol directive for your staff to follow. Email staff members any relevant information and new protocols, so everyone is on the same page, and you cover yourself in the event of a crisis.
Educate Staff About COVID-19 Symptoms.
Provide education on how to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 in themselves or clients.
The World Health Organisation states COVID-19 symptoms are as follows;
“The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, sore throat or diarrhea.
These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but only have very mild symptoms. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing hospital treatment.
Around 1 out of every 5 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, diabetes, or cancer , are at higher risk of developing serious illness.
However, anyone can catch COVID-19 and become seriously ill. Even people with very mild symptoms of COVID-19 can transmit the virus. People of all ages who experience fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention”.
For further information, ask your employees to visit the World Health Organisation website to learn more.
Ensure staff can identify at-risk clients, such as the elderly, pregnant or lactating woman or the immunocompromised individual.
COVID-19 Online Courses.
Empowering your employees with the correct information is valuable in so many ways. Not only will they pass on accurate information to their clients, but this may serve to reduce staff anxiety levels.
Here are some excellent free online e-courses you may like to undertake yourself or ask your staff complete. Click on the links below to get started.
Hygiene In The Workplace/Salon (Including COVID-19) Certificate Course, by Beauty Industry Approval.
BARBICIDE COVOD-19 Certification Course. by Barbicide.
COVID-19 Training. Australian Government.
Let your staff know they must not come to work if they have any symptoms at all. This measure is protective for everyone that comes into your salon.
To avoid the spread of COVID-19, ask your employees who are sick to take a COVID-19 test.
Do not allow them to return to work unless they can provide evidence of a negative result.
You may decide to ask your staff to take a daily temperature check. If you do, be sure to use a touchless infrared thermometer for this.
In the event of a COVID-19 infection in your salon, you must alert your local health authority to prevent the spread and notify close contacts. Here is an interesting article about what to do if your employee test positive.
Educate Staff On Proper Hygiene Practices.
Provide education on how to wash hands correctly. Most people think they know how to do this, but when they watch the video below, they realize they are missing areas. Proper Handwashing technique is one of the single most important things you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Direct staff to wash their hand before and after each client.
Promoting proper cough and sneezing hygiene etiquette in the salon is also a good idea. Provide tissues for staff and clients along with a vessel with a lid for appropriate disposal. Cough or sneeze into your bent elbow if you do not have a tissue, otherwise cough into a clean tissue and dispose of the tissue immediately. Remember to wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
Encourage staff not to touch their face, especially the eyes, nose and mouth as these areas are points of entry for the COVID-19 virus.
Here is a downloadable poster you might like to display in your salon.
Times are hard right now. With the extra workload due to maintaining strict hygiene standards and the threat of COVID-19, you and your employees may be feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
As a business owner, it is important that you spread some positive vibes where possible. Try to keep employees feeling upbeat and be on the lookout for any negative changes in attitude. If you do see that your employees are struggling, take the time to address and understand their feelings.
Showing compassion for your employees can help to foster better relationships in the salon. Furthermore, if your staff are feeling stressed, their quality of work and client treatment may suffer. Here is an informative article from Headspace.com to help your team through this stressful time, plus another resource from the CDC.
Spreading unsubstantiated rumors and stories about COVID-19 can also increase anxiety levels in the salon. Instruct your staff to refrain from spreading false information and creating fear in clients. Stick to the facts and get your information from credible sources only, such as your government’s health website.
Prepare Staff For Clients.
There are many ways you can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace. Preparing staff on how to manage their clients is imperative during these unprecedented times.
If your salon is small, insist that only one staff member is working at a time. Consider staggering shifts to accommodate everyone and allow only one client in the salon at any time.
The careful spacing of bookings and allowing an appropriate amount of time is needed. Now is not the time to be double booking clients. Neko has a fantastic booking wizard to help you manage your bookings with ease.
If your salon is larger, you may be able to accommodate more clients and staff while maintaining proper social distancing protocols.
Usually, salon owners are trying to attract new clients to the salon, but this may not be the best time to take on new clients. With reduced bookings and staggering staff working hours, it may be prudent to only focus on taking care of your regular clients. If you decide to do this, make sure staff are aware.
You may also like to discourage walk-ins at this time. Walk-ins can overwhelm spacial allowances and disrupt your allocated treatment times. You can dissuade walk-ins by placing a sign outside your salon or on your front door.
Document And Update Client Details.
Before you reopen your salon, educate your staff on the importance of updating their client’s personal contact details. In the event of coming into contact with a positive COVID-19 person, all clients who have come into contact with this person must be informed, so up-to-date phone numbers and addresses are vital to ensure this step.
Also, ask your staff to document every treatment and record any unusual events, such as noticing a client coughing or looking unwell during the treatment session.
If a client comes for their appointment and looks unwell, has an elevated temperature or is coughing, make sure your team knows they DO have the right to refuse service. More on this a bit later.
So, you have prepared your salon environment and staff, and now it is time to prepare your clients before they come to your salon.
To maintain a healthy workplace and ensure your business stays open during this pandemic, we must all work together. Your clients also play a vital role in keeping your salon COVID-19 free.
Communication Is Key.
Your client won’t know what is expected of them unless you inform them about your new protocols.
Send out an email or SMS to all clients, stating the mandatory requirements they must undertake before entering your salon. Neko can make this task easy with the fantastic Marketing Campaign Feature.
These directives for clients will depend on the requirements of your state or country health authority.
Some requirements may include, but are not limited to;
- Temperature testing upon arrival
- The avoidance of greetings that involves touch (handshakes, hugging, etc.).
- Hand washing or hand sanitizing upon arrival.
- New waiting room guidelines.
- The wearing of masks or other PPE.
- Proper sneeze and cough etiquette.
- New restrictions on cash handling.
- New pricing or COVIV-19 surcharge.
- Providing new contact details if changed
- Not attending appointments if sick, no matter how slight symptoms are.
- Not attending the appointment if a close contact is ill or anyone in the household is isolating.
- Any other changes relevant to your specific salon clients.
You may also like to warn at-risk clients to reconsider booking a salon service, as you cannot guarantee non-exposure to COVID-19.
These at-risk clients will include pregnant and lactating women, the elderly and the immunocompromised individual.
Upon arrival, direct the client to wash their hands, take their temperature, and inquire as to whether they have:
- Had a cough recently?
- Had a fever?
- Have had recent contact with anybody suspected of being positive to COVID-19?
- Have been around anybody that is showing symptoms?
- Are they living with anyone who is currently in mandatory isolation?
Once you are satisfied the client is not a health risk to your salon, you can go ahead with the service.
Refusing To Service A Client.
If you believe your client will be a health risk to you or your staff, you have the right to refuse service.
You can stop someone from entering your business, or refuse to serve someone, as long as you don’t breach any anti-discrimination laws in your specific country or state. These anti-discrimination laws usually include:
- sexual orientation
- gender identity and intersex status
According to Hairstylists Australia
“You absolutely can refuse to serve a client that is showing symptoms of coronavirus, such as a dry, chesty cough, a fever or a headache”.
Transparent Hygiene Protocols.
Finally, ensure your clients are aware of all the extra measures your salon is taking to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Showing transparency assures clients that you are taking their health and safety seriously. Doing so can help to build trust and loyalty with your clients.
Workplace COVID-19 Resources And Guidelines.
The United Kingdom:
The United States of America:
The world has changed dramatically over the last few months. Operating a salon during this time will require adaptation.
It is your responsibility as a business owner to ensure the safety of your staff and clients.
By making a commitment to maintaining proper hygiene, social distancing and education, you are giving your salon the best possible chance to remain open.
None of this is easy, but by educating yourself and your employees, you can help to reduce stress and maintain a harmonious workplace environment.
Stay safe, wash your hands, and enjoy the small pleasures in life.
At Neko, we enjoy empowering our clients and hope you find benefit in “How to Safely Reopen Your Salon”.
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