Salon & spa reopening risks: What have we learned so far?

As businesses have continued reopening, there has been a spike in COVID-19 cases nationwide. The spike has renewed concerns that many businesses are not adequately preparing and accounting for COVID-19 precautions when reopening their locations. At salons and spas, this is particularly relevant, since services depend on physical contact. So, what have we learned so far about getting back to business, other than reapplying for salon liability insurance? Let’s look at a few stories.

Patterns of transmission during the first wave of reopening in May have highlighted the power of masks. In Missouri, a salon opened for business with two hair stylists who continued to work while infected. They handled 139 clients but wore masks the entire time, and after researchers tested each of those clients, they found that none had contracted COVID-19 or reported any respiratory issues. Based on this study, the CDC has asked that policymakers consider mandating masks at salons and related businesses.

In addition to wearing masks, there are several other steps business have taken. In Georgia, salons and barbershops were allowed to reopen on April 24. To prepare for COVID-19 concerns, one salon owner in Georgia set several precautions in place. According to Nails Magazine, they required customers to text them to get in, limited pedicures to one client at a time, shut down retail sales and stopped offering refreshments to limit how long customers would be in the store. This streamlined the process for taking care of clients.

Here are some measures salons are taking to reopen. These include:

  1. Require masks: Make sure clients and employees are wearing masks. As the study in Missouri demonstrates, masks play a significant role in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
  2. Create social distance: If social distancing is an option, then staff and customers should remain at least six feet apart. If not, the CDC recommends installing barriers or transparent shields to fill the gap.
  3. Limit customers: Salons should limit how many clients and staff are on-site to a number that allows for social distancing within their location. Many leaders are recommending or mandating that salons, barbershops and related businesses should transition to appointment only, which some states currently mandate, to facilitate this process.
  4. Offer only what’s necessary: It’s also important to limit customer time at the salon. Some salons are temporarily removing retail products and closing waiting areas so customers are not spending more time than necessary in the salon or shop.
  5. Talk to your insurer: Many salon professionals were forced to cancel their insurance policies while they were out of business. Make sure you talk to your insurer to understand what you need to do to get coverage in place before you reopen.

While many businesses have struggled to reopen so far, there is a cautious path forward for salons and barbershops willing to take thorough safety precautions. Even basic measures such as mandating masks and social distancing can go a long way towards promoting a safe and healthy work environment. For more information on how to keep your business operating safely, consider reading the CDC’s guidelines for beauty businesses.

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