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As COVID-related restrictions lift, the small business world is changing. People are starting to feel more relaxed—and they’re more excited than ever to get back to spas, salons, gyms and other personal service-based businesses.
When you first reopened your doors, you had to adhere to strict gym, spa and salon reopening guidelines. But even as things become safer and less strict, it’s important to continue taking necessary steps to keep your customers safe. And if you’re reopening for the first time since the pandemic hit, put the right protocols in place to make your spa, salon or gym a safe environment for your clients.
So, what does that level of safety look like in action? Here are some steps you can take to stay safe as we move towards business as usual.
Update safety protocols as needed.
As we move into this new phase of lifted restrictions, some of the safety protocols you had in place at the height of the pandemic may no longer be as relevant. While you still need to prioritize keeping customers and employees safe, this is a good opportunity to review and update protocols.
For example, under the original guidelines for salons to reopen, you may have limited the number of daily appointments to comply with capacity limits. But as those restrictions are lifted, you may want to rethink your safety protocols. Maybe you’re going to shift back to full appointment capacity but implement other safety measures (like plastic partitions between salon stations) to keep clients and stylists safe.
Or, perhaps you suspended fitness classes at your gym to keep headcount low and encourage social distancing. As restrictions lift, you may be ready to start hosting daily classes again. But when you do, you’ll want to take extra measures (like updating your ventilation system, leaving enough time between classes to fully sanitize the room and equipment before the next round of students comes in, or hosting workouts outside) to make sure those classes are safe.
Clearly communicate safety protocols to customers.
Because things are changing, your customers may feel unsure about what safety protocols they need to follow while they’re at your spa, salon or gym. They may also be wondering what measures you currently have in place to keep them safe.
So, whether you’re moving away from the original rules for gym reopenings, keeping your salon safety protocols the same, or taking a hybrid approach, make sure to tell customers what you’re doing.
If you own a gym, it’s not enough to just put your safety protocols on your business website. If clients don’t check your website regularly, they may be caught off guard that you’re still requiring masks or temperature checks. Or, on the flip side, they may feel uncomfortable that you’ve decided to remove those safety protocols, which can disrupt trust in your business. Instead, make sure all your customers are clear on your safety protocols by spreading the word through digital channels and in real life. Send a postcard or create a social post giving customers a heads-up, and hang signage in your windows and locker rooms as in-person reminders.
When you clearly communicate your safety protocols to your customers now, you’ll prevent misunderstandings and confusion later.
Encourage social distancing.
Social distancing is one of the most effective ways to maintain a safe environment in your gym, salon or spa, so continue encouraging your guests to maintain at least six feet of distance. Also, make sure that your business is set up in a way that makes that social distancing possible.
For example, if you operate a gym, consider distancing equipment at least six feet apart (with greater distancing for treadmills and other high-exertion equipment). If you teach fitness classes, use floor decals or stickers to mark socially distant stations where students can set up their equipment. If you’re a salon owner, consider placing stations and chairs six feet apart from each other if possible, or seating guests at every other station. If you own a spa, encourage your guests to show up right at their appointment time to avoid crowding in the waiting room.
The more distance you can create between customers, the safer your space will be.
Encourage touch-free transactions with QR codes. Whether they’re registering for a fitness class or tipping a nail technician, create a poster that allows customers to scan a QR code and pay via PayPal.
Protect your staff.
As a gym, spa or salon owner, your employees are the backbone of your business. They’re interacting with your customers (often at a very personal level), so for everyone’s wellbeing, it’s important to have clear employee safety measures in place.
Some measures you’ll want to take to protect your staff include:
- Some measures you’ll want to take to protect your staff include:
- Encourage your employees to stay home if they’re not feeling well.
- Provide them with PPE and encourage them to wear the equipment when working in close contact with clients (for example, wearing a mask or gloves when giving a client a massage).
Your employees are what keep your small business moving forward, so make sure you take the necessary precautions to keep them safe. You’ll keep your customers safe in the process, too.
Stay up to date on recommended safety protocols.
The situation with COVID-19 is constantly changing and evolving. As a result, the steps you take to protect your business, your employees and your customers will need to change and evolve along with it.
Make sure to stay up-to-date with all recommended safety protocols, including CDC guidelines for spas, salons and gyms and any recommendations at the state and/or local level. If recommendations change in the future, use it as an opportunity to reevaluate your safety protocols—and take any extra steps necessary to ensure a safe environment in your spa, salon or gym.
Top safety tips
- Update your safety protocols…
- …and communicate them to your customers.
- Encourage social distancing.
- Protect your staff.
- Stay up to date on safety guidelines.