It has been an incredibly frustrating time for beauty salon owners. While hairdressers have been allowed to open with new social distancing measures in place, the beauty salon industry has been left in the dark.
We now know that beauty salons, nail bars, tattoo and massage studios, physical therapy businesses and spas have been allowed to open since the 13th July, but there are restrictions on the types of services you can provide.
Treatments that are carried out face-to-face, including facials, eyelash extensions, facial waxing or threading and make-up application are not allowed until further notice. This may further complicate your grand re-opening, so we wanted to offer some advice based on our observations of how hair salons have managed.
Beauty salons have been given very little notice. The challenges facing beauty salons are almost identical to those facing hair salons, so this is a perfect opportunity to learn from their experiences and use this to create your own plan for reopening after lockdown.
Reopening is not without its obstacles. You will have to think about the following:
Let’s explore some of the Government guidelines and what you can do to implement them smoothly.
Customers will only be allowed to visit your beauty salon if they have an appointment, so this weekend will be all about filling that appointment book! If you have a waiting list, now is the time to contact your loyal customers and let them know you’re available for bookings.
If you offer an online booking form, make sure you update the services you offer to reflect the government guidelines.
Some hair salons implemented a booking screening policy. This will involve calling customers before their appointment to find out if they suspect they may have been in contact with anyone with COVID-19 or if they are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test.
You might also place restrictions on the distance a customer can travel to avoid people travelling from areas under local lockdown. On arrival, some hair salons are checking customer’s temperatures. Although remember that this doesn’t offer any guarantees, as some people don’t show any symptoms but can still spread it.
At the very least, customers will be encouraged to wear a face covering for the duration of their appointment, but this might be difficult for some treatments and for some customers. Adding screens to your salon could help to manage this risk. Screens should be used to separate customers from the beautician and customers from one another.
Perhaps the biggest challenge will be managing your staff. With a limited number of people allowed in confined spaces at once, you may need to consider extended opening hours to accommodate more customers.
Bringing back furloughed staff part-time is another way to ease your staffing problems. The furlough scheme has been extended until October, so this could help you to keep all of your team.
We suspect it will be all-hands on deck to try to get your salon ready for opening on Monday 13th July. But remember that your staff will need to maintain social distancing, even when the salon is closed.
If you need to make changes to the layout of your beauty salon, this will need to happen before you can reopen. Many hair salons have implemented a one-way system, eliminating the waiting area and installing screens between stations. This helps to minimise movement through the salon and minimise risk to both your staff and customers.
Another change to consider is introducing cleaning stations and sanitation stations. Many salons have a hand gel station at the door and then hand gel at every station for staff.
PPE for staff is another thing to think about. Will your staff wear gloves for facial treatments? Will your staff wear masks and visors? Will your staff wear disposable gowns? The guidelines state that staff members wearing a protective visor don’t need to wear a mask, but you might want to double up on protection. You can read the government guidelines on working in close contact services here.
You will also need to consider how you will manage the additional cleaning time. You will need to establish a cleaning routine and standards for cleaning and make sure all of your staff have been trained. If you are wearing reusable visors, these will also need to be cleaned regularly.
It might seem like a lot to think about, but it is reassuring to know that there are other industries already back to work that are implementing these changes with success.