How to Prepare For Your Return to the Salon:

Part 2: Let’s Talk Safety & Reopening

If you caught part 1 of this series, you already have a solid foundation of how you can start preparing yourself for the return to the salon.

In that article, we talked about finances, we talked about mental health, and we talked about boosting staff morale—but now, we’re talking about something a little more concrete. Something that’s probably weighing heavy on everyone’s minds in the wake of this new phase of the pandemic—how to reopen our salons and shops safely and limiting exposure.

You likely have really mixed feelings about this next step.

On one hand, it’ll be amazing to get back to doing what you do best. Plus, you’re more than likely anxious as can be to see money flowing back into your bank account again. And let’s not forget how amazing it’s going to be to finally see the clients you’ve been missing for the past few weeks.

But on the other hand, this step is weird and scary and entirely new—we have no precedent to look back at and heed advice from because this sort of situation has never really happened to us before.

For a lot of people, not opening isn’t an option—and that’s OK. All that matters is that you’re making every effort to keep yourself, your coworkers, your staff, your clients, and everyone else around you as safe as possible.

That’s exactly what we’re here to talk about today.

How to Stay Safe When Reopening—Protecting Yourself, Your Staff, & Your Clients

Everyone’s opinion on how to deal with the pandemic is going to be different—and we respect that. In fact, we’re not here to argue with anyone or throw out any kind of agenda—but what we are here to do is give you the best advice possible on how to re-open your business in the safest, healthiest way you can without putting anyone at risk.

Keep reading to get some protocol inspiration that could help you keep your salon, your stylists, your coworkers, and your clients safe, healthy, and well during this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wear Masks & other Appropriate PPE

We’re not encouraging you to stockpile medical supply products that you might not need, but we do encourage you to wear a mask to help limit your—and your clients’—exposure.

While there’s a debate going around about whether or not healthy people should wear masks or not, we find the point a little moot given how difficult it can be to tell if someone is actually sick with the virus (and that a high percentage of the population can be asymptomatic—meaning they can spread the virus even though they might not even feel or act sick).

To be on the safe side, make it a policy that your staff (and maybe even your clients, too) have to wear masks to help limit their exposure.

Set an Occupancy Limit

We know how tempting it might be to fit in as many clients as possible. Mostly because it’s likely you really missed your regulars, but also, let’s not pretend it’s not going to be nice to get your income back.

One of the biggest aspects of reopening in a safe way is ensuring you’re putting the least amount of people at risk at a time. In other words, don’t just let anyone walk into your salon to request an appointment and don’t pack out the salon with clients.

Try to set up a super-cautious occupancy limit that allows a set number of people and workers in a space at a time. Try to ensure this limit allows for plenty of social distancing and doesn’t make anyone feel crowded.

This number is going to vary based on your individual salon, but we recommend making sure that number is based on safety and security and less on trying to serve as many clients as possible—even though they’ve been without you for weeks.

Get Rid of Waiting Areas

Typically, the waiting room or waiting area in a salon is, like, the place to be. And while we all probably truly love and cherish that community we’ve built in our own salons because of it, choosing to forgo it at this time is a really great way to keep everyone safe.

Set up a system with your clients where they call in before they enter the building to make sure you’re ready for their appointment. Try to avoid the whole “waiting in the salon” aspect altogether. Get your clients in, get them out, and get them looking fabulous with the least amount of exposure possible.

Be Firm on Social Distancing

Yes, you’re going to want to hug your clients. Yes, you’re going to want to pal around with your colleagues. And yes, you’re going to want to go back to life as normal. But it’s important to put everyone’s best interest first and stick to the social distancing as best as you possibly can.

That means when you’re able to stay up to 6+ ft apart, you probably should. We’re not saying you need to stand on opposite sides of the room and shout at your coworkers, but if it’s possible, stagger your stylist chairs, leave lots of open space, open windows and doors for fresh air, and most of all, encourage your clients to follow suit.

You can still love on your clients and coworkers—just, you know, from a distance for now.

Nix Those Communal Treat Bowls

We’re sure you already know to do this, but it doesn’t hurt to throw a little reminder in here. As stylists, it’s always fun (not to mention important) to make our clients feel welcome, pampered, and cherished—and often that comes in the form of candy bowls, unlimited coffee, and maybe even a delicious alcoholic drink (who doesn’t love a good adult beverage, right?)

But for the time being, we suggest stepping away from this form of client appreciation. We’re sure everyone will miss the bowls of Godiva, but the less stuff you have around for communal touching, the better.

Sanitize, Disinfect, and Sanitize Again

We know, we know, you’ve always been a clean salon, shop, or spa—but now’s the time to not just get even more serious about your cleanliness, but to showcase that dedication to your clients.

Make sure your clients know your policy and procedure on sanitizing and disinfecting equipment—in fact, don’t be afraid to put up signs or explain it to each client individually as they come in for their appointments.

Pro tip: it’s never a bad idea to get re-certified—and have your entire staff re-certified—in proper disinfecting and sanitizing procedures.

Above all, we just want you to stay safe—and to do everything you can to make sure the people around you are safe and healthy, too.

Have some reopening advice for your fellow beauty pros? Now’s the time to drop it below—that’s why we have a comment section!

We encourage you to share your insight and advice on how we can all re-enter our spaces safely, healthily, and happily!