Nothing in this article is meant to be construed as medical advice. If you have questions about your health, please consult a doctor.
Now that the coronavirus has been declared a public health emergency worldwide, and confirmed cases of infection have been identified throughout the United States, it’s important for everyone to take steps to stay healthy. And that’s especially true for you, a business owner, who comes in close contact with more people than the average person.
Staying healthy at this stage simply means remaining on top of information that’s easily accessible and using those details to keep yourself, your clients, and your workspace safe. Because unless you live in a community that’s been directly affected, your actual risk level of contracting the virus is still probably quite low. But it’s important to take action to keep it that way. Here’s where you can start.
What Exactly is the Coronavirus?
What many people may not know is that coronaviruses are a large family of hundreds of viruses that normally circulate in animals but have caused outbreaks in humans three times in the past two decades, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIH).
Remember SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) back in 2002 and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) in 2012? Well, those were both coronaviruses, which caused mild to upper-respiratory tract illnesses, similar to how the common cold affects most people.
The coronavirus that emerged in 2019 is commonly called coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 for short. And this new strand causes a fever, cough, and shortness of breath 2 to 14 days after exposure, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
People mostly contract the virus through everyday person to person contact, such as when someone infected coughs or sneezes CDC officials stated. But it’s also possible to touch a contagious surface, and then contract COVID-19 by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
Create a Safe Workspace
While some of the safety tips circulating online may seem repetitive, COVID-19 is a virus that’s spread very rapidly. With more cases being investigated everyday, we’ve tailored the following tips specifically for members of the beauty and wellness industry, who regularly invite people into their workspace:
Schedule more time between appointments - Give yourself more time after each session to fully sanitize your workspace by allocating 5 to 10 extra minutes between clients. This added amount of time will let you fully cleanse your workstation with over the counter yet powerful disinfectants, such as rubbing alcohol or bleach, that can kill the COVID-19 virus.
You will also have additional time to wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer—keep in mind that any hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol.
Separate workstations - Part of the reason this virus has spread so easily is that it’s contagious between two people standing within as little as 5 to 6 feet of one another, according to the CDC.
Remember that COVID-19 is transmitted through droplets from coughs and sneezes. To stay safe, place your work stations at least an average body length away from one another to promote good respiratory hygiene habits, while giving clients some extra space.
Make sure tissues are easily accessible - Provide tissues at each station workstation to make it easier for clients to cough or sneeze into a disposable yet absorbent source. Make sure they’re available to fellow employees and customers by resting tissue boxes no more than an arm’s length away from each chair.
Consider electronic payments - Strongly consider using paperless, contactless, electronic methods to accept payments, instead of cold, hard cash that can easily spread germs on contact. If you have Mobile Payments set up through Booksy, start asking your clients to pay for their services directly from their phone.
Remind customers that paying directly through their mobile device is not only easy and convenient, but also minimizes the spread of harmful germs and viruses.
Put Clients at Ease
Not only is it important to maintain good hygiene habits to stay safe, it’s also important to put clients at ease mentally. Making absolutely sure that hand soap and sanitizers are available is key. But also consider other ways to keep clients feeling good about visiting the shop.
Relax cancellation policies and encourage clients to cancel if they feel ill - Remind customers that if they aren’t feeling well it’s okay to cancel an appointment and reschedule for a later date, once they’re feeling better.
Send a mass text message or an email blast to let customers know that cancellations aren’t frowned down upon during this time. And consider letting them know it’s easy to change the time and date of a session.
Encourage clients to book appointments online - People will want to avoid large crowds and areas where numerous individuals gather, as details on COVID-19 unfold, so remind people to book online instead of walking-in to your space.
This is another great opportunity for sending a mass message to clients. In this scenario, let people know it’s easy to book online to reduce wait times and decrease the likelihood of waiting in a congested area.
Display a Completed Certification - One way to show your knowledge and awareness is to complete an online certification course and display your certificate of completion. The Barbicide Certification course is available for any beauty and wellness professional, who wants to take this route.
Display Information on How to Stay Safe - Remind clients to maintain good respiratory hygiene by coughing in their mouths or into their arms instead of out in the open by using signage or posters. These simple and easy to create tools can also be used to remind clients to wash their hands before and after sessions.
Continue monitoring details on the spread of COVID-19 - Staying up to date on what’s happening in regards to COVID-19 is also a great idea, as you will be able to answer questions on the subject, which will set long-term or first-time clients at ease.
Knowing some of the specific communities that have experienced outbreaks is a great place to start. And feel free to review online content from credible sources, such as Harvard University School of Public Health, which attempted to answer a number of common COVID-19 questions.
Staying Healthy in the General Public
While it’s important to stay safe while cutting hair, grooming beards, or creating nail art—it’s just as important to prioritize your own health by following some of these simple, straightforward tips:
- Keep hand sanitizer on you, if possible, and wash hands with soap and water frequently
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Remain home if ill and consider scheduling an appointment with a doctor
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick and put distance between yourself and other people, especially if your community has been exposed to COVID-19
Seeking Medical Advice
To remain fully informed in regards to the spread of the coronavirus and related developments, seek out information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIH).
Familiarizing yourself with updates on the virus and taking steps to stay safe are always important. And remember to speak directly with your doctor if you have any questions about your specific health, especially in regards to COVID-19.