Here’s How the Hairdressing Industry is Dealing with Coronavirus [Advice]

by akesha / last updated April 1, 2020

Coronavirus and hair salons

With the current uncertainty surrounding Coronavirus (COVID-19), it’s only natural that businesses are being precautious when it comes to hygiene and safety. This is especially prevalent in an industry such as hairdressing when so much of the service relies on physical touch.

Advice for employees and self-employed hairdressers

The UK Government’s current advice to employees is to stay at home if you have any symptoms, not matter how mild they are. If you are a contracted worker you will be entitled to statutory sick pay from day one of your self-isolation instead of day four. You do not need need evidence for this as The Government website states, “By law, medical evidence is not required for the first 7 days of sickness (i.e. employees can self-certify).”

If you are self-employed and rent a chair, are a session stylist or work at home you will be eligible to apply for Universal Credit for the period of your self isolation.

Advice for salon owners

It’s imperative for salon business owners to take heed of official advise while the virus is still spreading rapidly. The website states: “We continue to urge employers to respect the need to stay at home where they are following government advice to do so and to show flexibility in the evidence they require from employees.”

This, of course, will impact many small businesses greatly, and with this in mind, The Government has recently announced in the 2020 Budget that they will grant relief by bringing forward “legislation to allow small- and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.” You can check the criteria for this here.

What are salons doing amid the pandemic?

Many salons are sharing guidelines and precautions with their client base though social media and email marketing. Benjamin Shipman, owner of The Hair Movement sent out a detailed email to the salon database on their position regarding the virus. “We have been extremely transparent about the measures we have taken and this has increased guests’ confidence, which thankfully means that we have not yet experienced a negative impact on the overall bottomline. It’s business as usual, but run in a slightly different way. We listen carefully to our guests and their concerns, and try to put measures in place to mitigate those concerns. It’s our job to instil confidence in our guests, letting them know we are doing our part to keep them healthy.”

He continues; “With all this said, we are painfully aware that COVID-19 will eventually have a more severe impact on business. If schools close in the area, then childcare service will be offered to our tribe, allowing stylists with younger children to continue working without worry. We’ll continue to communicate with our guests, encouraging them to stay happy and healthy, and if they exhibit any symptoms, to come in and be pampered at a later date. When the government escalates their advice to avoiding all non-essential travel or social contact, then we have a marketing plan in place to drive post-quarantine business, designed to make up the negative financial impact of the quarantine period.”

His advice for follow salons? “Take this seriously, plan for the worst, put measures in place to minimise the impact on the here-and-now and think about what could potentially be lost if forced to shut, and how you can make up that loss when things normalise, which they always will. Stay positive with your team, you want them focusing on what they do best and ensuring confidence with your guests.”

Some other salons are also implementing payment guidelines to minimise chances of infection. “In light of the pandemic announcement we have requested that where possible clients refrain from paying in cash,” says Simon Hill from SESH Hairdressing. “This will reduce the amount of handling of cash our team are required to do as well as limiting the touching of hands between clients and team members too.”

Brian MacMillan, salon director at F&M Hairdressing has upped the salon’s disinfecting procedures, “Our salon is disinfected daily however we have upped this in light of recent events to ensure every precaution is taken. Each work station is thoroughly disinfected after each use along with each gown, all staff or washing their hands before and after services and hand sanitizer is readily available to everyone via non-touch sensor distributors.”

How barbershops are dealing with COVID-19

“Our salons are all based in the heart of cities and if team members can’t come in and clients are choosing or are unable to come in, that will have a major impact on our cashflow,” says Joe Mills, owner of Joe & Co. “As barbers, we work directly in contact with our clients and there is always a risk of infection.”

Joe continues: “The key is not to panic but to be informed and to monitor the facts and to be able to react around this situation. At the moment it’s about hygiene and keeping our clients and team members safe. We are washing our hands and equally keeping the environment clean. We use disposable towels and are washing gowns after each use, wiping down all sections after each client with antibacterial sprays. It’s basic common sense and being aware which can often be overlooked. As an industry, we need to be prepared rather than panic if appointments get cancelled.”

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