Today, I would like to share with you the practices that have received positive feedback from guests during COVID in the salon.
Minimizing risks of an outbreak and keeping our guests and staff safe is the main objective. I hope that sharing our successful initiatives will inspire you to keep making this world a more beautiful place!
We are very thankful to have wonderful guests who are very understanding and supportive of the measures that we needed to take in the salon. They are willing and eager to oblige with any of the protocols we have set in place because they just REALLY want to get their hair done. I can happily and honestly say that we have not had a single guest cause a scene or disruptance in the salon due to the health and safety measures we set in place. I think it has also made our guests feel good to do their part to help us stay open and in business, so don't be shy to communicate with your guests about what you need them to do.
Communication with Guests
Our guests have really appreciated the "Health and Safety Protocols" email that we have been sending out 2 days before each appointment. We send it out once (and only once) 2 days before each appointment, so as not be a nuisance. They have told us that being informed of the measures that we are taking in our salon ahead of time made them feel safe to come in for appointment and gave them the impression that we had the situation under control.
In this email, we layout in subsections: updates/changes to the services that we are able to offer; the ways in which our salon follows best practices for social distancing; extra sanitation and disinfection protocols that our salon is taking; what guests should be expecting upon their arrival during the check-in process; and updates to our cancellation policy.
If we are offering a promotion on products or services, we use this email as an opportunity to inform our guests about the special offer(s) as well. Several guests came in with an idea or list of the products that they wanted to purchase at their appointment, simply from being notified that they were going to be on sale that day!
When guests call to book their appointment, we verify their email on file and update it if necessary. We also brielfy go over a couple of the most relevant protocols, such as the fact that they must wear a mask in the salon and that their jackets will need to be placed in the lockers instead of the closet. This ensures that there are no surprises when they arrive.
Changes to our services
At the time of reopening, our main concern was being able to provide a safe service and environment for both guests and employees. The last thing we wanted was for an outbreak or to put any one of our staff members at unneccessary risk.
Our salon is located in York Region and when we initially reopened in June, we chose not to offer blow-dry's simply because there was not enough information and direction available at that point in time in regards to the spread and transmission of the coronavirus. We also asked guests to arrive with hair that was pre-washed before any haircut service. We reserved hair washing only for when it was absolutely necessary (ie. after colouring services), because it required being in close proximity to our guests' faces.
However, by the second week of July, York Region Public Health had stated in their policy that it was permissible to offer washing and blowdry services as long as both the service provider and guest were wearing a mask. Public health policy for Toronto also states that blow dryers can be used when staff AND clients are wearing a mask or face covering. Our guests and staff were told since our reopening date that it was mandatory to wear a mask in the salon due the to proximity of our personal service work. This made it easy for us to once again offer blowdry and hair washing services (and our guests were super happy to be receiving their scalp massages again!). This allowed us to once again offer our hair treatments and keratin treatments as well. We wear both a mask and a face shield when washing hair.
However, to this day, we still do not offer beard or mustache trims as that would require guests removing their masks in the salon.
We chose not to raise our prices in the salon and not to charge guests a "Covid" or "cleaning" fee. We know that our guests have also been affected by what is going on in the world today and did not want to download all of our extra expenses on them. Instead, we just please ask that our guests bring in a mask to their appointment. We do keep some disposable masks in case a guest forgot or they don't want to ruin the mask that they brought in with colour.
Social Distancing in the Salon
In the salon, we are praticing touchless greetings. What this means is, for the time being, we do not hug or shake hands with our guests. Behindthechair.com has some very cute and customer-friendly downloadable signs that you can print, laminate and post in your salon.
We are fortunate to have a salon that was already large enough to have cutting and blowdrying chairs that were 6 feet apart. If you do not have this space available in your salon, you may need to alternate stations or set up dividers (such as plexiglass) between stations. Our hair washing sinks are not 6 feet apart, so we alternate hair sinks and ensure that we never have 2 guests getting their hair washed directly next to each other.
We had to remove the waiting area in our salon in order to set up 2 additional socially distanced colour stations. For this reason, we ask that guests come alone for their appointment as anyone without an appointment will be asked to wait outside of the salon. This allows us to more thoroughly control the number of people in the salon at any given time.
We are temporarily not offering any beverages in the salon so that guests do not need to remove their masks.
We removed magazines, price menues and other paper items that guest may be inclined to touch.
We are fortunate to have lockers in the salon for guests to place their coats or jackets in. We make a note of the locker that each guest used and sanitize the locker and key after each use. We chose to use the lockers instead of the salon's closets in order to prevent a guest's items from coming into contact with another guest's items. If you are using closets in your salon, you may need to consider allowing extra space between guests' items and finding a way to disinfectant the closets frequently.
We ask our guests to limit any belongings that they bring to the salon to their phone and method of payment. The goal is to minimize guests needing to place personal belongings on any countertops or surfaces in the salon. Instead of bringing in a large handbage, we recommend using perhaps a crossbody bag or a small bag that they are comfortable with holding. We ask that guests please do not bring in food or beverages or any laptops.
Sanitation and Disinfection
In addition to our usual provincially-regulated sanitation and disinfection protocols, we are taking the following measures in the salon:
- We are booking an additional 15 minutes between appointments to disinfect work stations and work areas after every guest. Any chair that a guest has sat in will be sprayed with disinfectant after each use. Sometimes hair flies onto a stylist's chair even after it has been sanitized simply due to running the blowdryers nearby. If you notice a little hair on a chair when bringing in a guest, just apologize and resanitize the chair right in front of them. Our guests have been very happy to see us constantly cleaning before and after them.
- High contact areas (such as door handles) are cleaned frequently
- The reception area is cleaned frequently. The debit/credit machine is disinfected after each used. Please note that these machines will break down if you put wet sanitizer directly on them. We are using a cover on top of the screen and keypad of the machine, which we replace daily. And we use disinfectant wipes on top of the cover so that no disinfectant enters the machine. You can purchase a plastic cover from the supplier of your debit/credit machine (e.g. Moneris). Unfortunately, a cover does not exist for our specific model of a machine, so we are using serran wrap.
- Our retail area has a sign asking guests to please not touch the products. Instead, we are happy to grab the products for our guests instead. We aslo wipe any products that our guests purchase with a sanitizing wipe.
- We are providing hand sanitizer at multiple convenient locations in the salon. We have it at the table when guests first enter, at both cash registers and even at the colour bar.
- We are using single-use, disposable cutting capes.
- All of our staff and guests are required to wear masks in the salon, because it is impossible for us to do our work 6 feet away from our guests. For guests who are doing colour services, we recommend that they bring in a disposable mask or a mask that they wouldn't mind too much if it came into contact with colour. We also have medical tape if we need to remove the ear bands for the mask and hold it up in another way. The tape used for eyelash extension services is also another option.
Our guests can expect the following upon arrival
Guests are asked to please arrive on time for their appointment as everything in the salon is carefully timed out. We have signs posted on the front door to wear a mask and arrive alone, as well as a sign asking them to please wait by the front of the salon for their appointment time.
Guests have their temperatures checked when arriving at the salon and are required to sanitize their hands.
Guests are asked a set of questions to screen them for international travel, symptoms of Covid, and contact with anyone diagnosed with Covid. They are also asked to contact us should they be diagnosed with Covid within 2 weeks after their appointment. So far, we have not had any issues.
A few of our stylists and salon coordinator made a video of what our check-in, payment and check-out process looks like and saved it as a story highlight on our Instagram page.
Updates to our cancellation policy
We adjusted our salon's 24 hour cancellation policy in order to keep everyone safe. We ask any of our guests who meet any one of the following criteria to call our salon to reschedule their appointment, as they will not be penalized:
- If they are feeling unwell or have symptoms of Covid. When a client calls to inform us that they need to cancel due to possible Covid symptoms, we make a note in their file and we kindly inform that in the best interest of everyone's health and safety, we must wait a minimum of 14 days to reschedule them. We inform them what that date is and make a note of it in their file. So far, everyone has been very understanding and appreciate of this initiative.
- If they have been diagnosed with OR come into contact with someone diagnosed with Covid within the last 14 days
- If they have returned from any travel from outside of Canada within the last 14 days
This is not an exhaustive list of every little thing that must be taken into consideration during this time, but it is a summary of the protocols that have been working very well for us and are fairly easy to execute.
These protocols have helped us find that careful balance of being safe and precautious without causing a great inconvenience for our guests.