There have been a number of developments, since our last Coronavirus update, the most significant of which is that COVID-19 has taken a firm hold in the US with 1015 cases and 38 affected states (link). Most experts agree that what is happening here is just the beginning of what is being reported around the world. We are also witnessing the impact this news is having on travel restrictions, the potential for school and business closures and a growing reluctance to engage in public activities like going to the gym, restaurants, movie theatres and yes, even spas and salons!
Professional beauty workers have long known that their services are often utilized by those feeling under the weather as a "pick-me-up" or an opportunity for a bit of pampering and self indulgence. The puffy eyes, sniffly nose or persistent cough are all too familiar customer accompaniments when seeking a mani/pedi, facial, massage or other treatment. Few customers get turned away and workers are left trying to protect themselves and other clients as best as they can. So how can you keep yourself safe?
The best form of protection is education. Knowing how to identify the risks and coming up with appropriate action is the key to preventing pathogens from spreading to you and your clients. Here are four helpful practices to keep in mind:
1. WASH YOUR HANDS
Many viruses can spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your own mouth, nose, or possibly eyes. Therefore washing your hands is the best line of defense and an activity that should be repeated as often as possible throughout the course of the day and after every treatment or client interaction. Be sure to know the proper technique, using soap and thorough scrubbing action for at least 20 seconds (or as the CDC recommends: “humming Happy Birthday twice” link).
2. ALWAYS DISINFECT YOUR SURFACES & EQUIPMENT
After every client appointment, you should disinfect your work stations, treatment areas and client touch points to include chairs, beds, face cradles, door handles, counters, etc. Follow the label directions of the disinfectant wipes or spray you are using and ensure you’re allowing for sufficient contact time to kill all germs (can vary from 1 to 10 minutes—so be sure you know what you’re working with). To be deemed effective against emerging pathogens such as COVID-19, your disinfectant must be a hospital or broad spectrum disinfectant product registered with the EPA and effective against certain non-enveloped viruses (ex. Poliovirus) link.
3. AVOID HARSH CHEMICALS
During this epidemic, salons and spas may resort to using harsh disinfectants in a bid to kill pathogens. You should be familiar with the precautionary language associated with these products to ensure you’re not being exposed to unintended side effects which could include skin irritation, respiratory issues or necessitate special storage and handling considerations. Rejuvenate™ Wipes and Ready to Use Spray kill salon and spa relevant pathogens and can be used against COVID-19 on hard non-porous surfaces and equipment. While they’re powerful, they are also safer on you and your staff as they are odor-free, non-irritating to eyes and skin and their active ingredient breaks down into oxygen and water.
4. SHARE KNOWLEDGE
While there may be some clients that are staying away from your salon or spa during this outbreak, those that do seek out your services should be assured that they are safe while in your care. You can let your clients know what positive steps you are taking to avoid exposure to germs not only during this outbreak but at all times (read: “Show it off. Why you should be proud of your disinfectant” blog post). Keep your disinfectants handy and in plain site and use them often. That way your clients and those waiting can see your words being put to action. It’s good practice and could also be what distinguishes your business from other salons and spas—so be sure to also communicate as much via your marketing and promotional materials including counter displays, website and social media.
Following these practices and having the knowledge you’re doing things right, will help you and your clients stay safe from germs and the spread of infection. It’s not just good for you, it’s also good for business!