How to Safely Reopen Your Hair Salon or Barbershop During COVID-19

Anne Shaw

Across the country, salons and barbershops are beginning to reopen their doors after coronavirus lock-downs. And because true social distancing just isn’t possible in this industry, these small business owners must think carefully about how to keep their employees and their clients safe.

6 Ways to Prepare for Reopening Your Hair Salon or Barbershop

In order to best serve our small business insurance customers, many of which purchase business insurance for their hair salons and barbershops, we have compiled helpful tips for reopening.

1. Clean and disinfect.

Before opening your shop, be sure you’ve thoroughly cleaned and disinfected all surfaces, linens and tools. Use only disinfectants that are approved by the EPA and have effectively tested against human coronavirus. If you have furniture that you cannot disinfect (e.g. leather chairs), consider using plastic covers that can stand up to regular cleaning and disinfecting.

2. Research local guidelines related to COVID-19 safety.

Read your local reopening guidelines to make a list of new safety procedures you’ll need to implement, as well as how you may need to update your interior space. Depending on your location, these could include both state and city/county guidelines. These three resources may help:

3. Get your shop ready for social distancing.

Change the layout of your space as needed with social distancing guidelines in mind. This may mean removing furniture, taping off certain areas or service stations and even installing dividers. Remove any unnecessary items that are typically shared, including magazines, style books and service menus.

4. Write down a new health and safety plan.

Record all new safety protocols, including who will be responsible to manage them, how employees should be carrying them out and how often they should occur. Then, make a list of new materials you’ll need to purchase. Don’t forget to include any items that you currently have that you’ll need to stock up on to make your safety protocols possible.

5. Prepare your staff.

Train your staff on the new safety protocols, including how to communicate them to their clients. Make sure everyone understands their personal responsibilities as well as when and how often to carry them out.

6. Communicate new guidelines to your clients.

Make a plan for how you’ll communicate this information to your clients, both to encourage them to return for services and to help them understand what to expect with all the new changes. Email, text messages, social media and even phone calls are good ways to reach out. Communicate to clients that these new protocols are in place to keep them and your team safe. Consider adding this information to your website so it’s easy to find.

Promote Healthy Environments During COVID-19: Hair Salon and Barbershop Safety Updates

As you read the below checklists of safety suggestions, keep in mind that not all states and cities have issued the same rules and restrictions. As you develop your reopening plan, make sure to read all available local guidelines.

Consider these updates to client relations:

  • Do not allow walk-ins and require all clients to book appointments online or by phone.
  • Confirm every appointment 24 hours in advance. While confirming their appointment, remind customers of any new required safety protocols that you have put in place so they know what to expect and can arrive prepared.
  • Decide whether you want to ask customers symptom-related questions prior to allowing them into your business.
  • Lift cancellation fees so customers aren’t penalized if they forego an appointment due to COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Ask guests to check in by calling when they arrive. Request that they wait outside or in their vehicle until their stylist/barber is ready for them.
  • Perform temperature checks with a touchless infrared thermometer. If their temperature is above 99-degrees, ask them to return once they’ve been free of all symptoms for at least 24 hours.
  • Request that clients bring masks and wear them for as much of their appointment as possible. Keep a stash of masks for clients who forget.
  • Offer touchless payment options. Do not accept cash payments.

Consider these safety measures for inside your business:

  • Limit the number of people inside, including clients and employees.
  • Allow for social distancing as much as possible. Add extra space between service stations and chairs where possible.
  • Where adding distance isn’t possible, install temporary divider shields or tape off every other chair or station.
  • Create a schedule to regularly clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces, like door handles.
  • Install handwashing or hand sanitizing stations for employees and clients.
  • Add signage or floor stickers to direct traffic in a way that encourages safe social distancing.
  • Remove magazines and other shared materials.

Safety protocols to consider implementing between each client:

  • When booking appointments, allow for an extra 15 minutes for cleaning and disinfecting service stations and tools.
  • Each client should get a fresh cape (disposable or laundered) and a neck strip regardless of the service they receive.
  • Employees should change into a fresh smock (disposable or laundered) and wear a new pair of gloves between appointments.
  • Change plastic wrap for shampoo bowls after each client.
  • Require stylists/barbers to thoroughly wash their hands with warm water and soap between each appointment.

Employee safety rules to consider:

  • Upon arrival to their shift, check employees’ temperatures. If they are above 99-degrees, send them home and ask them not to return to work until they’ve been free of symptoms for at least 24 hours.
  • Require safety attire: masks, face shields (if possible), gloves (changed between each client) and fresh smock for each new appointment.
  • Suggest they change and launder their work clothes immediately upon arriving home after each shift.

For a more comprehensive list of safety guidelines, especially for spas and salons that offer services beyond hair, visit Modern Salon. To learn more about how you can protect your business when it comes to general liability and lost income should you need to close again, visit The Hartford’s Hairstylist and Salon Insurance page.

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