Lock-down has highlighted just how invaluable our hairdressers, barbers and, beauticians really are. So, it comes as no surprise that the reopening of this sector in England on the 4th of July has brought with it a tonne of excitement. Especially, for those of us who have been counting down the minutes until our lock-down hair and beauty fails can be rectified.
However, it also brings a whole load of questions and concerns for salon owners about balancing the safety of customers and staff with maintaining a calm, friendly, and welcoming environment. Therefore we wanted to share with you our top tips for opening back up.
Covid Guidelines and Advice for Salons to Reopen
Which Hair and Beauty Businesses Can Reopen on 4th July?
At present, only hair salons and barbers within England can reopen on July 4th. Nail salons, beauty salons, tanning salons, and other beauty services will not yet be opening. Also, hairdressers and barbers in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland are not yet reopening.
So, for those of you that are reopening next week, or, for those of you who are preparing but still waiting for a lift on restrictions, please read our top tips for reopening below.
1. Reduce Contact Time in the Salon
Although social distancing rules have been lifted in England, you should still aim to limit contact as much as possible to lower the risk of spreading the COVID-19 infection. To do this we would suggest implementing a few different rules to reduce the length of time consumers are in your salon and the number of different people coming into contact with each other.
We have recently discovered just how much the Big Mac has been missed as selected McDonald's drive-thrus reopened. The queues got so big at some stores police had to intervene. The number of people desperate for beauty treatments and haircuts is likely to be even higher, therefore, a massive consideration should be given to enforcing an appointment-only rule where no walk-ins are allowed.
You may also want to close waiting areas, not only because it's one less place to clean, but also because it means clients won't hang around before or after their appointment. To ensure clients are not waiting before their appointments, why not send a text or call them when you are ready. This will avoid a crossover between clients, will allow time for cleaning in between appointments and, will limit the number of people within the salon at any one time.
Another thing to consider is the possibility of offering virtual consultations. After having some extra time on our hands, many people may be considering trying a new style but may not be exactly sure what treatment they need. Instead of them coming into the salon to discuss this why not implement virtual consultations over video chat. This means the only thing they are coming in for, is for their hair or beauty appointment.
2. Think About Shift Patterns for Your Workers
Although this may not be necessary for smaller salons, larger salons can definitely benefit from considering their salon shift patterns. Try splitting staff into different groups who will always work together and forming little work 'bubbles'. This again, will reduce the amount of different people staff are coming into contact with, protecting both them and their clients.
In addition to this, you could consider revising your opening times to keep on top of the essential cleaning. You could alter your times to accommodate those most vulnerable in society by dedicating one or two mornings a week to those over 65 or those with underlying health conditions, for whom it may be too risky to come during normal opening hours.
3. Invest in PPE for Your Staff
Having PPE in your salon is a really important ingredient in helping to keep your staff and clients safe.
The Irish Hairdressers Federation's Covid-19 guidelines highlight that good hygiene practices are essential. They advise that hand sanitisation zones should be established so that customers can cleanse their hands. It is really important that staff also have easy access to either soap and water or hand sanitiser so that good hygiene levels can be maintained. We offer a range of hand sanitisers here at Salonwear, including smaller portable hand sanitising bottles perfect for individual use as well as larger sanitising bottles ideal for creating hand sanitisation stations. We also supply an automatic sanitising station which allows for hand sanitiser to be dispensed without staff or customers having to touch a thing!
To further improve good hygiene practices, we would advise that stations, washbasins, and equipment are wiped down after each customer. This is because coronavirus particles can remain on surfaces for a number of hours once they are contaminated. A quick and easy way to do clean and disinfect is to use disinfectant wipes. The wipes at Salonwear are perfect for commercial use as they come in a dispensing tub of 500 wipes. They have an alcohol content of 70%, make use of the latest biocidal technology, and are scientifically proven to kill the novel coronavirus.
Although our disinfectant wipes are PH neutral, you may want to use disposable gloves to avoid drying of the skin and as an extra protective barrier. The single-use, latex-free nitrile gloves we offer are composed of a specially-formulated Nitrile Butadiene Polymer which makes them thicker than ordinary disposable gloves and also means you don't have to be concerned about possible latex allergies. They are also powder-free meaning no powder residue will be left on hands or clothing after use, which is great for keeping uniforms, customer clothing, and towels free from powder residue. It is important to remember that secondary transmission can still occur if you come into contact with the virus whilst wearing gloves and then touch your face, so if you are wearing gloves as a protective barrier keep this in mind. Moreover, you should always wash your hands before and after wearing any disposable gloves in case the skin becomes contaminated. Also, remember that each pair of disposable gloves should be worn only once before being immediately disposed of. If you were to wash the gloves or use hand sanitiser on the gloves this could weaken their properties making them ineffective.
The use of a protective roller shield should also be considered, as these protect staff and customers against the spread of droplets from coughing and sneezing. These protective shields could be placed at the reception area, between washbasins or between hairdressing stations. At Salonwear, we offer three different sizes of transparent roller shields (700mm x 2200mm, 1400mmx1500mm, 1400 x 2200mm and, 700mm x 700mm) each of which, can be fitted quickly and easily through the use of either a rigid back bar or clips for suspended ceiling grids. The cleaning of these transparent PPE screens is easy, as you just need to wipe them down with ordinary soap and water.
Both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UK government have advised that when social distancing cannot be adhered to then face masks should be worn. As treatments performed by beauticians, hairdressers and barbers will require close contact with both staff and the customers, it is advised that everyone concerned should wear a face covering. At Salonwear we offer both disposable and reusable masks as well as protective visors. We have three really useful blogs all about face masks and coverings and so, if you need any more information on the various types of masks and how they should be used, simply visit our Dencowear company blog.
Finally, aprons are an effective form of PPE to not only protect your clothes from chemicals used but also protect them from becoming contaminated. As per the Irish Hairdressers Federations Covid-19 advice, if using a disposable apron (or any other disposable PPE like gloves and towels) they should be disposed of directly into a waste bin after use. When using reusable aprons, towels, masks etc they should be used only once and then laundered using the warmest appropriate washing setting. Disposable PPE is useful if only required a few times or if it is likely to become extremely messy or contaminated. Reusable aprons may prove not only to be a more sustainable alternative but also more cost-effective. Our fluid-resistant gown conforms to EN13795 as it has been rigorously tested in relation to barrier resistance, strength, cleanliness, and linting. It can be used and washed more than 40 times, provides high coverage with its full sleeves and adjustable neck and waist, (which use ties for a better fit), and is made of a non-sterile and latex-free 100% polyester fabric for extra breathable qualities.
4. Keep Informed on the Latest Coronavirus Advice & Be Prepared for Changes and Updates
The reduction of social distancing to one metre, which helps allow for the reopening of hairdressers and barbers, only applies to England because Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland will have to remain shut for now. You can still prepare but you have to wait for an official reopening date from the government. Moreover, nail salons are still not able to open anywhere in Britain. It is important that wherever your hairdressing salon or barber shop is located within the UK that you keep up to date with the latest news and guidelines relating to reopening to keep yourself, staff and clients, safe.
5. Avoid Unnecessary Contact with Objects
As coronavirus particles can stay on objects for a few hours, it is best to avoid contact as much as possible. This might mean you choose not to hang your customer's coat up for them. It might also mean that you don't offer them hot or cold drinks, biscuits, magazines, or other pamper and entertainment items. It might mean you stop taking cash payments and it might mean moving any loyalty or reward cards that aren't contactless to digital formats such as a reward app. We recommend you take whatever precautions you think are necessary and be sure to inform your customers via phone, text, or social media so that they are not disappointed with the new type of 'limited' service you have to offer.
6. Keep it Fun - Treatments are Still a Treat!
The new rules that you and your customers will have to get used to maybe tricky and possibly stressful, and so it may be all to hard to forget to keep things fun. So, even though you may not be able to supply the usual hot drinks and magazines, nothing is stopping you from creating a more relaxed environment through things like music, lighting, candles, or possibly essential oil diffusers.
Don't forget to communicate either. By using social media to keep clients informed they can be better prepared to follow the rules when they come to their appointment.
Good luck from all of us at Salonwear!
Blog by Becky Jackson for Salonwear