[Updated] Tips for safeguarding your beauty business as coronavirus spreads

With so much uncertainty surrounding the spread of coronavirus, we outline the safeguards to put in place in your salon or spa business to keep you, your staff and your clients healthy. 

Coronavirus (Covid-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. No one knows yet how the illness is spread from person to person but the NHS says that similar viruses are spread in cough droplets. The symptoms of coronavirus are a cough, high temperature and a shortness of breath. Recent Government figures show that there have been 1,543 confirmed cases across the country. In total, 55 people in the UK have died with the virus [these figures are correct as of March 17, 2020]. 

If the coronavirus causes customers to choose to stay at home and miss out on regular appointments, then there could be a big impact on the beauty industry, which currently employs around 300,000 people in the UK," said Lesley Blair, chair of Babtac. “As well as income loss, there is also the threat of not being able to source stock from affected countries, everything from nail varnish, anti-bacterial cleansers, gloves and other supplies necessary to carry out day-to-day treatments."

What measures have UK salons taken to safeguard their business?

Beauty is a very contact-led service, so it’s natural that both clients and therapists alike are worried about maintaining good hygiene levels in this environment. Many salon owners and mobile techs are telling clients who are ill not to come in for their appointment as a preventative measure. 

“You will be asked to wash your hands when arriving at the salon. We do not treat if you have a cough, cold or fever. Our staff are sent home if they have the same symptoms,” said The Treatment Rooms in Brighton on its Instagram page. “It’s been a strange week for most of us. Information overload. Feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. This is normal.” 

Blink Brow Bar, which has 13 salons in London, is also asking for clients co-operation, stating that sanitiser use is compulsory for every client and therapist before treatment. “Our wonderful teams are working hard to ensure the highest level of cleanliness, regularly washing hands and sanitising surfaces,” the statement read. 

Guinot Salon in Earlsfield is considering offering virtual skin consultations to clients after an Instagram poll of its customer base showed that 83% would like this given the current circumstances, while celebrity facialist Michaella Bolder is already doing so, offering online consultations and facial massage tutorials. Meanwhile, mobile therapy app Uspahh is telling its team to be extra vigilant about “washing their hands before and after treatments, sanitising tools and equipment, wearing rubber gloves and reporting immediately if they feel unwell,” said founder Iglika Gouse. 

Wellness and lifestyle club Cloud Twelve in Notting Hill, London, is treating every area of its building with UVC sanitation lamps on rotation. In an email statement, the company said: “The ultraviolet light lamps eliminate bacteria and viruses by disrupting their DNA and rendering them harmless. The light is effective against all airborne microbes, even newly emerging strains, consequently reducing the number of germs circulating through the air.” 

Many may also want to follow US beauty retailer Sephora’s lead in suspending all in-store make-up testing and product sampling until further notice, which could potentially be a breeding ground for cross contamination. Salon group Simpson’s Beauty Group, which has two sites in Lincoln, is also doubling up disposable couch roll on treatment beds as an extra precaution. 

Meanwhile, registered nurse and joint owner of Cosmedic Skin Clinic in Tamworth, Sharon King, is compiling a database of aesthetic nurses who are ready to go back into the NHS, if needed, to help with the current situation. If you know anybody suitable, please do contact King.

Software provider Phorest has launched a free Covid-19 Resources for Salon Owners communication pack, outling the techniques to adopt in order to prepare for the effects that coronavirus may have on your beauty business and team. Areas covered include staff management, client management and business management.

Seduire London Beauty Clinic in Soho has announced that it will have no more than two customers at any one time within a safe distance in the salon, and that all clients and staff will have their temperature checked on arrival – if deemed too high then unfortunately they will be told to go home. 

You also need to be proactive and send a newsletter to your client base explaining all the special measures you’ve implemented in salon to protect them as open communication is key. “Not only is this a worrying time for salons, but it’s a worry for your clients. Think about what they want to hear and immediately it comes down to how clean the salon is,” said Karen Davis, a specialist in Strategic Digital Beauty PR

“Keep them informed in a proactive and calm way, interspersed with information on your offers and treatments. If you create proactive strategies you will reassure customers and emerge with a reputation stronger than ever.”

Meanwhile, tanning bed salon T-A-N in Berkshire has been slammed online for wrongly claiming that getting a tan could prevent its customers getting coronavirus. The salon wrote on its Facebook page that “the virus can’t survive over 26C. We are saving lives”. Professor Sally Bloomfield, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, disputed this claim in a BBC article saying there is no way of killing the virus once it is in your body, you just have to fight it off.

What hygiene policies should I be implementing more vigilantly?

Official advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cleaning your frequently touched surfaces – such as toilets, computer keyboards, chairs, door handles and telephones – with soap and water, and then disinfecting with an EPA-registered household disinfectant containing at least 70% alcohol between clients.  

Investing in more single-use, disposable equipment, such as nail files, will also help reduce the risk of cross contamination, as well as investing in more sterilising equipment and being vigilant in keeping these processes up. 

To avoid catching coronavirus, the NHS recommends that you:

How will the Government help reduce the financial impact of coronavirus on my business?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined several measures in relation to reducing the impact of coronavirus on the economy in his Budget 2020 speech on March 11. 

Sunak said that small businesses with fewer than 250 employees can reclaim the cost of paying sick pay for the 14 days of isolation, should a staff member need to self-isolate.

He said all of those advised to self-isolate, even if they don’t have symptoms, are to receive statutory sick pay if eligible. 

Self-employed workers will be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (SWA) from day one of “illness” instead of day eight. It is worth £73.10 per week, or £57.90 for under-25s. 

Read his full Budget 2020 statement

The National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) is also advising that beauty businesses update all staff and emergency contact numbers.

What extra measures are you taking in your beauty business? Comment below.