Toronto’s Coronavirus lockdown has hair salon owners, stylists and clients eager for beauty services to resume. Once Toronto hits the statistics needed to start reopening the economy, salon owners will likely have safety protocols to follow. Until those guidelines are released, I have some ideas for owners to consider.

Operating a beauty salon during a pandemic is going to look significantly different than it did prior to the Coronavirus. Salons will have a unique challenge, because it is physically impossible to keep two metres of distance while styling hair! With that being said, beauty services are an important part of our clients’ lives, and naturally you want your salon to be running and your staff working as soon as it is safe to do so.

Masks are going to be a part of all of our lives for a while. Your staff should wear masks at all times, as should your clients. Clients may bring their own mask, but make sure you have masks for clients just in case they don’t. Gloves should be available too. Hand sanitizing should be available in many locations in the salon. Have staff and clients sanitize their hands when arriving and departing the salon. Staff should sanitize between every client.

Start by screening all your staff and clients when they arrived at the salon. Temperatures can be checked using a forehead thermometer and specific screening questions should be asked. Be sure to ask all staff and clients if they have had Covid 19, if they have been exposed, been told to self-isolate or if they have had any symptoms such as fever and sore throat.

One of the first items you should look at when preparing to reopen your beauty salon after the lockdown are frequently touched surfaces. Magazines, style books and coffee pots are items that are touched frequently by multiple people. Removing any non-necessary items from your salon waiting area will minimize the spreading of any germs. Give consideration to items clients bring from home and consider limiting them. Books, handbags and phones coming from clients’ homes can transmit germs. Consider asking your clients to leave these items at home or in their vehicle. How does payment work in your salon? You may want to do away with handling any cash. Electronic transactions are safer, especially if you can do away with signatures. Consider adding a clear plexiglass divider between the receptionist and client. Even a clear shower curtain works in a bind. Salon products available for purchase can be relocated and purchased upon request or consider signs asking clients not to touch products unless necessary.

Try to maintain social distancing by staggering shifts and utilizing alternate stations. Consider assigning your stylists to teams that work alternate shifts or alternate days. For awhile, you may want to limit services as well. Clients can wash their own hair at home. If you need to wash a client’s hair, make sure they are wearing a mask or put a towel over their face. Little perks like head, neck or hand massages can be eliminated until it is safer to include them again. Other services like eyebrow waxing may need to be added later on as well. Many salons may go without hair drying services because of the risk of blowing germs around the salon.

Be sure to take a look at the traffic within your salon. If you have two doors, consider having one be an entrance and one an exit. That way you won’t have clients bumping into each other using the same door. Staggered appointments may help you avoid having too many people arriving at once. If your salon has separate stylists for different services, try to limit the number of people coming in contact with each other in your hair salon.

Everyone is eager to return to salons as soon as it is possible. Having a plan in place will reassure your staff and clients that you are taking every precaution.

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