No matter where you are, chances are that salons, med spas and barber shops are starting to open up or go back to business as usual amid the COVID-19 pandemic. And while this is exciting, business and the way salons have to operate now is far from how things used to be. Not only may you have to pre-screen people for COVID-19 symptoms or limit capacity in your salon — potentially for years into the future — but you’ll also have to enforce social distancing.
Social distancing is when a group of people stay physically distant from one another (six feet apart is the gold standard, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]) in order to curtail the spread of illnesses, such as the flu or COVID-19. And studies show that social distancing is effective, so it’s definitely something you want to do to keep your guests, employees and business safe. If your stylists operate in close quarters and your reception area is tiny, you may have to get creative with how you service guests and implement social distancing for the foreseeable future.
Clients are typically in a salon for a few hours, and your stylist and estheticians may be in there for a lot longer every single day. So it’s critical for your salon to develop a social distancing plan and make sure your people and your clients are well-aware of what’s expected. At the end of the day, social distancing keeps everyone safer and keeps businesses open. Luckily, there are many ways you can maintain social distancing in the salon, and there are also tools and accessories that can help you keep your people and clients safe.
Let’s break it down.
To effectively uphold social distancing guidelines and regulations, you’ll want to make sure that you have signage up around your salon and on the doors before clients enter your place of business. These signs will let them know what’s expected of them and that they are required to socially distance in your salon. One sign is not enough. You should have materials that are posted around free-standing hair salon stations that remind guests of your rules. At the end of the day, we’re all getting used to the new normal, and it’s easy to forget to wear a mask or social distance. But having frequent signage and being able to remind your clients and people of these rules will definitely help them abide and keep everyone safe.
Rather than minimizing the number of salon chairs you have in your salon, consider keeping the same number of chairs but alternating guests between empty ones so you’re not constantly cleaning. This gives you the opportunity to clean and sanitize one chair while your next client is sitting in another chair.
Train Your People
As we mentioned above, social distancing can be a tough adjustment for everyone to make. Over the last year, people have had to keep handshakes and hugs to a minimum while staying socially distanced at all times. It’s critical to train your team members on the latest protocols, as well as encourage and empower them to enforce social distancing guidelines themselves. They always need to be mindful of their distance between the client and all other people in the salon. They can also remind guests about social distancing guidelines if need be. As long as you have strong signage and a staff who is committed to social distancing and keeping everyone safe, you’re setting your business up for success.
Invest in Protection Equipment and Tools
If it’s impossible to maintain six feet of distance in your salon or you have areas where there are usually multiple people gathering at once, you could invest in sneeze guards placed in between salon stations or plexiglass dividers for your reception area. Sneeze shields and guards can further help protect your guests and your people by providing a barrier in between other closely located individuals. It also gives your guests peace of mind. You’ll also want to stock up on masks and other personal protective equipment so that your people and clients always feel safe. You can also keep hand sanitizer stations conveniently located around the salon. In addition to social distancing, these tools can keep your business open.
Rearrange Your Salon
Thanks to new state-imposed salon operating guidelines, you may have to switch up the floor plan in your salon. The guidelines for your state may vary from others, which is why it is important to read up on your local regulations and guidelines, as well as suggestions from the CDC. Since most salons are operating at a limited capacity, it may be easy to rearrange your salon equipment to accommodate social distancing while still allowing for you to service as many clients as you need to. When reconfiguring your floor plan, try to keep salon stations at least six feet apart. You can also distance out the wash and processing areas so that people aren’t sitting right next to each other for long periods of time.
Let the Breeze in
If you’re looking to adopt further safety protocols aside from social distancing, all you may need to do is just open a window. When you allow for more ventilation and fresh air to come through the salon, the contamination and spreading of COVID-19 becomes less likely. If you’re in a region where the weather is more mild, feel free to open your doors and windows so that your people and your clients are constantly breathing in fresh air. Along with social distancing, this can help keep infection rates down as well as slow the spread of COVID-19.
While new regulations and social distancing may be temporary, these safety measures will help keep salons and places of business open during the COVID-19 pandemic and well into the future. We hope this guide helps you identify a path and opportunity within your salon to improve everyone’s safety and slow the spread.