Heather Bagby, vice president of business development, Summit Salon Business Center
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Heather Bagby, vice president of business development, Summit Salon Business Center

What do you do when a staff member or salon guest inform you they have tested positive for COVID-19? In our Burning Questions series for our November/December 2020 issue, Heather Bagby, vice president of business development for Summit Salon Business Center offers some sage advice and helpful scripting:

First, Summit Salon Business Center strongly advises all companies to contact their legal counsel in the event an employee or guest tests positive for COVID-19. Also, please review updated information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as this situation continues to change.

If anyone in the salon has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (within 6 ft. and without PPE), encourage them to get tested as soon as possible, stay home the specified amount of time as described by a medical professional and contact their supervisor. The salon needs to respect the person’s privacy rights.

If an employee tests positive, this is the message we recommend sending to all employees:

Please be advised that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. We are not at liberty to disclose the employee’s name per the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We have commenced with a special cleaning, and the employee will be self-quarantined and not return to work until medically cleared. We will also continue our routine cleaning and disinfecting protocols that have been in place since our salon reopened. For your safety and the safety of others, please continue to wear your PPE at all times when you are in the building and conduct yourself consistent with social distance guidelines. Please advise us if you believe at any time you have become symptomatic and, of course, contact your primary physician and take the appropriate test. If you do become symptomatic, we ask that you stay home, keep us up to date on your condition, and advise us of any test results as soon as possible.”

The CDC recommends contacting any persons that meet the following criteria: "For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before illness onset (or for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated."

Here is the script we recommend for contacting clients or other guests in the salon:

This is XXX from SALON COMPANY and I am contacting you out of an abundance of caution in ference to your visit on DATE. I was informed that someone who was in the salon that day tested positive for COVID-19. We continue to adhere to our sanitation procedures and conducted a medical grade/special cleaning in our salon company last night. If you have questions regarding COVID-19, please consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov.

If a team member in the salon tests positive, you have to keep the information private. Since all information is private and protected per ADA rights, the front desk team member should not have any information, except that the service provider is attending to a personal matter. Here’s a script for informing clients who are on the books:

XXX has to attend to a personal matter and is unfortunately not available for you scheduled appointment. She has recommended XXX to accommodate you today, or I can reschedule your visit for XXX.”

If a guest alerts the company that they have tested positive, here is the message we suggest for salon staff:

Please be advised that a salon guest has tested positive for COVID-19—this guest was in the salon on XXXX. For your safety, and the safety of others, please continue to wear your PPE at all times when you are in the building and conduct yourself consistent with social distance guidelines. Please advise us if you believe at any time you have become symptomatic and, of course, contact your primary physician and take the appropriate test. If you do become symptomatic, we ask that you stay home, keep us up to date on your condition, and advise us of any test results as soon as possible.

The following is an excerpt from the CDC website:

“Take action if an employee is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 infection. In most cases, you do not need to shut down your facility. If it has been less than seven days since the sick employee has been in the facility, close off areas used for prolonged period of time by the sick person."

  • Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting to minimize potential for other employees being exposed to respiratory droplets. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait for as long as possible.
  • During this waiting period, open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in these areas.

“If it has been seven days or more since the sick employee used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary. Continue routinely cleaning and disinfecting all high-touch surfaces in the facility.”

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