As the public becomes increasingly concerned about Coronavirus, many salons are taking action to reassure their guests about the proactive steps they take every day to keep both staff and clients safe. Others are looking down the road, starting to make plans for the economic impact that client cancellations or forced closings may impart.
Eva Scrivo Salon in New York sent out a communication to the guests March 11, showing gratitude for the trust clients place in the salon and its team and updating them on the recent steps they have taken. The email read:
“The safety of our clients and our staff is our top priority. That is why we want to make you aware of the steps we are taking to protect everyone’s health and safety. We will continue to follow a stringent infection prevention protocol. Some of the extra safety steps we are undertaking include:
- Wiping the stations and chairs with anti-bacterial cleansing solution after each client.
- Wiping down frequently used surfaces, such as countertops, door handles, tabletops, elevator buttons, etc. throughout the day.
- Having hand sanitizer available throughout the salon for clients and staff.
- Continuing to sanitize combs, brushes and other tools after each use.
- Whenever possible, seating clients at every other station to create more distance.
- Having our staff wear masks when working with clients face-to-face.
- Reminding our staff not to come in if they feel any indication of sickness.
- We are also encouraging clients to reschedule appointments if they feel ill.
We will continue to update you on any additional guidelines from the CDC and other government agencies, as they relate to our business. In the meantime, please stay safe and thank you, for your patronage.”
At Whip Salons, with three locations in Connecticut, Amy Pal also sent out emails to her clientele about the extra sanitation procedures they are taking at the salon, but she's leveraging her community relationships to reassure the public the salon is open for business. “I have been in touch with blogs, papers, our Chamber of Commerce and downtown merchant associations to help them get the work out that we are safe and we are open in an effort to protect client bookings and let the public know we are savvy, responsible and conscientious.
In addition to updating the handwashing alerts throughout the salon, Pal also sent a communication to her team outlining the enhanced safety procedures. The staff email states:
“Thankfully, although there is still much to learn about the Coronavirus, the CDC’s suggested protocols for addressing it are identical to those for reducing the spread of common cold and flu. Therefore we are focusing on specific measures we can put in place to increase our efforts at virus prevention. Effective immediately, and until further notice, please follow these procedures:
- If you feel you could be potentially sick with fever, cold or flu symptoms, please stay home. If you have accrued PTO, you can use it for this purpose. Note that if you show up to work with symptoms, you will be asked to go home.
- Increase the frequency of washing your hands. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or couch/sneeze into your elbow.
- Please ask before hugging, shaking hands, high-fiving or other close contact with other staff or clients unless you are certain the other person is okay with it.
- Please don’t share food or drinks.
Front Desk Staff
- Be alert and aware of customers or staff who appear sick. If a staff member appears sick, send them home. If a customer appears sick, escalate to a manager to evaluate the situation. It may be preferable to try to reschedule the customer if possible.
- Disinfect the following shared hard surfaces hourly throughout the day: Doorknobs; Light switches; Cabinet handles; Faucet handles; Toilet handles; Fridge doors; Washer/dryer buttons; Telephone handsets; Any other surface you identify as being touched by multiple people.
- Disinfect the following shared hard surfaces before the start of day, after end of day, and between clients: Your salon chair; Any other surface at your station that clients touch.
- Disinfect any tools you share with other stylists before using them, including hair dryer handles and clippers.
- Disinfect any items shared between clients in Barbicide, including combs, brushes, hair clips, etc.
Currently we have Clorox wipes available for disinfecting hard surfaces which are effective against Coronavirus. In a few days we will receive a bulk supply of new disinfectant wipes from Zogics containing .28% Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride. That active ingredient has also been shown to be effective against coronaviruses in concentrations above 0.05%.
Ginger Bay Salon and Spa in St. Louis, Missouri, also has sent out emails to their guests about the sanitation practices they employ to keep both employees and teams safe, but owner Laura Ortmann is taking further steps to brace for the economic impact should client cancellations continue to grow.
“At this point, my leadership team is having a one-call every day at 9 a.m. to discuss our two main strategies—managing the economic impact and managing the risk and panic of exposure through cleanliness.”
One of their most recent conversations revolved around how the salon will manage sick leave. “We want our team to stay home if they are sick, but do we stick to the current sick leave/absenteeism policy or do we temporarily suspend it?” Ortmann says. “We are looking at the policies of other companies right now. Trader Joe’s is paying their people sick leave to stay home, for instance, but we don’t have that kind of funding.”
Ortmann also is preparing her salon for potential economic hardship ahead. She’s talking to her landlords and looking into business interruption insurance coverage. She’s looking at her manufacturers and online training platforms to minimize the cost of training her new hires. And, she’s leveraging credit card points to avoid adding more debt.
She also recently sent an email to her team to prepare them for changes ahead:
“If we learned anything during the Great Recession of 2008-2010, we need to have an economic readiness plan (we call it GBERP…Ginger Bay Economic Readiness Plan). It’s no secret that we were already managing a challenging financial situation in 2020 due to employee exits in 2019, but we were managing it. Coronavirus has added another layer of financial hardship that none of us expected. However, we will manage it with good planning, communication and most of all, teamwork. Here are our initial thoughts/concerns of Phase 1 of our plan:
- Please do not panic and do not spend time with your guests talking/worrying about Coronavirus. Our guests are here to relax and escape.
- We are not alone. Every industry and business is being impacted daily. Many businesses and schools are facing financial challenges, layoffs, decreased revenues and even closures. Airlines, hotels, cruises and many other businesses are offering discounts. We may be on board with that soon.
- If client counts continue to decline due to cancellations, we will need to cut back the hours of our Guest Services, Housekeeping and Maintenance Teams. Similar to when we hire, we will look at our traffic peaks and client counts to determine how much staff we need. We are conducting that analysis at this time and looking at shifts. Preferential treatment will be given to those with longevity within the company. These schedule changes will be temporary based on the duration of the Coronavirus scare.
- If client counts continue to decline due to cancellations, we will need to cut back the hours of hourly stylists who are in training and/or on the floor, but still earning an hourly wage. Like with #3 above, we are analyzing traffic counts and staffing needs. Unlike other hourly employees, these stylists can prevent schedule cuts by building their books. In other words, if you are booked and/or increasing your productive time, your hours will not need to be cut. These schedule changes will be temporary based on the duration of the Coronavirus scare.
- All Superhero benefits (special benefits for employees with longevity) are suspended until further notice. Vacation pay for everyone else is under consideration at this time.
- Hiring is temporarily halted for hourly positions. Hiring of service providers will continue within budgetary guidelines. We are fortunate that we have some in-house trainers and we have the support of Aveda that minimizes some of our costs.
- We are working on cash flow stability by looking at what inventory/supplies we really need to order and what we don’t. If guests aren’t purchasing, we shouldn’t spend money on retail/backbar that will sit on our shelves. Your compensation is not impacted by our cashflow. Advanced Education will continue with the support of our vendors/manufacturers.
- I am personally speaking with our vendors and Landlords about extended payment terms, but only if needed. We aren’t there yet, but I want to be proactive.
- I have personally been in contact with our lender and our insurance company to see what solutions they are offering in the event we need help. Again, just trying to be proactive.
- We anticipate that most, but not all, of our stylists, massage therapists, nail technicians and estheticians will experience a decline in guests and, therefore, a decline in revenue. No one knows how long this situation will play out, but we do know that we will need to build up our revenue quickly when we are through this. That means we are going to ask that all of you add extra hours in the near future, we just don’t know when that will begin. This isn’t the best analogy, but think of it like any other closing. When we close for snow, we have to make up the revenue. The bills keep coming and we all have to find a way to pay them.
- Leadership is once again picking up extra hours in all areas of the business, particularly in Guest Services.”
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.