Tuesday 2 June 2020

Covid-19 Protocols in the Studio

In preparation for reopening, I'm scouring my industry and public health websites daily for guidance  on how Personal Services Settings are going to proceed with Covid-19 protocols and best practices in place.  I'm excited to write this post and share with you, dear reader, because it means that I'm one step closer to opening!

Here's what I do know.  It's going to be a little different going forward in the studio, but rest assured you're still going to leave with the gorgeous nails you've come to know and love!!   Here are some of the protocols that are going to be in place for awhile (hopefully not too long, but as long as it takes).    Keep in mind my business is in my home therefore I need to be very protective of my family.  

  • Masks will be required to be worn by both clients and myself.  If you arrive without one I have a limited supply of one-use disposable masks available at a cost of $5 each.  I strongly recommend you bring your own as I don't have unlimited resources of masks or funds to purchase them. 
  • A travel and health screening will be conducted at each appointment (a series of questions with yes/no answers)
  • Cell-phone use will be strictly limited to emergencies only.  Cell phones should remain in your purse or pocket and not on the nail desk.  
  • Beverages will not be allowed in the studio; bottled water is the exception. 
  • Cashless payments will be encouraged.  Cash will continue to be accepted but must be exact-change only.  Let me know if you are paying with cash before you reach into your wallet.  
  • Clients need to arrive at exactly their appointment time in order to accommodate additional sanitation and disinfection procedures that will be mandatory between clients.  If you arrive early please remain in your vehicle.
  • Appointments will be spaced further apart to allow for additional sanitation and disinfection.  This will result in fewer appointments available per day.   
  • Nail appointments will be scheduled first.  Once all clients cycle through their first nail appointment, pedicure appointments may be scheduled.  At this time, double appointments (manicures and pedicures) are not being considered due to the longer length of appointment and the requirement to wear a mask the entire time. 
  • Clients who are ill with cold or flu-like symptoms or who have traveled (as long as travel restrictions are still in place) and not self-isolated for 14 days will be asked to cancel or reschedule their appointments.  No exceptions.  There will be no penalties for late cancellations if you are unwell.  

Here are some things I'm doing in the studio and elsewhere to ensure our mutual protection and safety:  

  • Wear PPE for each appointment as per best practices/OSHA, Province of Ontario, Durham Region Health Department.  This includes such items as masks, gloves, face shields, safety glasses, and aprons which are changed and/or discarded after each appointment. 
  • Sanitize and disinfect all  high-touch surfaces, work surfaces, chairs, LED lights, washroom, doorknobs, Point of Sale equipment between clients and the end of each work day.
  • Guest client chairs will have decorative coverings removed in order to completely sanitize and disinfect between clients.
  • Powder room will be off-limits to my family, available for clients only, and high-touch surfaces will be sanitized and disinfected between clients.
  • Remove all unnecessary salon decorations, decor, magazines, and displays to reduce contact points. 
  • High-touch items such as colour swatches will be available to view only.  I will hold them for you to make a selection.
  • HEPA air filter to remove 99% of pollen, bacteria and viruses.
  • No new clients at this time.  I know and trust all of you, and I also know I can count on all of you to protect each other.
  • If I or anybody in my family is feeling unwell, or show any symptoms of Covid-19 I'll clearly be cancelling all upcoming appointments.  
  • I'll do my part to stay home, social distance, and stay healthy.  I limit my outside exposure to a trip to get groceries at Longo's (where they make everyone wear a mask) 3 times a month.    

I'll continue to update this page as new requirements are announced or I think of something else.  

Stay safe and I am so looking forward to seeing everyone soon!  

June 2020  

Thursday 28 May 2020

How a Virus is Destroying the Beauty Industry

I totally realize it's been THREE years !! since my last blog post.  Wow.  I've been busy teaching, mentoring and designing beautiful nails for my clients.  I was living the life, creating the perfect balance between business and leisure.  All was good.

And then Covid-19 happened.  

My income plummeted to zero in a matter of days.  I shut down my studio before the Durham Region public health order was issued.  All of my education classes from March through to May were cancelled.    I am relying on CERB to get me through to the other side.  My business does not qualify for any other government program, I don't have enough expenses to warrant CEBA, and I don't pay commercial rent.  

As if that weren't enough, my father-in-law passed away from lung cancer the end of March.  I was petrified of passing Covid-19 on to him.  He did not contract it thankfully.  

I'm one of the fortunate ones.   I'm home-based, my business expenses are very low, and I can get by.  There are many other beauty service providers who won't be so lucky.  

Consider the salon who has chair rentals - with no rent coming in from the stylists who rent those chairs to pay for their commercial rental space.  Or the estheticians who rent a room, or the nail techs who rent a table.  Zero, zilch, nada.   Do the salon owners keep paying their rent?  What about utilities, business insurance?  Will their landlords help them out with the federal rent subsidy?  How long do you throw good money after bad, when there is no end in sight? 

All of those lash artists, brow specialists, microbladers, permanent makeup artists, the waxers, nail artists, hairdressers, makeup artists,  aren't working right now because the Ontario government has told us to shut down (rightly so) and to do our part to flatten the curve.  Stay home.  Wear a mask.  Stay 6 feet apart.  How long do you think we can survive without an income?  Much of this employment is considered precarious.  Some of it is considered gig work.  Many are not actually employees at all, but "independent contractors" which is a whole other kettle of worms.  No EI deductions (therefore no EI eligibility).  Stuck between a rock and a hard place is an understatement.  Fallen through the cracks more like it.  Many of these artists will also rely on childcare in order to return to work, and that hasn't been addressed yet either.  

For those of you reading this far, I will be fine.  I'm sourcing PPE, additional disinfectant, and putting plans in place to be ready to reopen once I'm told I can.  It will be different in my studio, for sure.  Things will look....different.  The nails will be the same, same products, same process and hopefully same happy times with my lovely guests.   Am I nervous?  Yes.  My business is in my home, of course I'm nervous.  But I'm smart and I'm resourceful and I will take every precaution to keep myself, my family and my guests safe.  

But I wonder about many of my colleagues in the beauty industry, who have decided the stress of it all is just not worth going back to something they love.  They are torn between wanting to continue with something they are so passionate about, but nervous and wary based on their own personal circumstances.  The longer we are unable to work, the longer we have to worry and fret about everything.  Some will be forced to quit and find other work to pay their bills.  Some will lose their businesses.  Some will be unable to work at all due to the stress of everything.  

So to anybody who is a client, a future client, a wanna-be client or a client of somebody else's - please be understanding, patient and kind to your service providers once we can reopen.  We feel abandoned, misunderstood, and maligned.  We don't understand why some businesses have been allowed to reopen and we can't.  We understand the nature of our work brings us face-to-face with our clients, or in some cases within that magic 6-feet radius.  We get that.  But we are also well-trained in sanitation, disinfection and best practices within our industry.  We will be well-prepared with PPE (what little there is, has skyrocketed in price since the pandemic began).  Don't be surprised if there are price increases, or a PPE surcharge.  Don't be surprised when you are required to bring your own mask to your service, or pay for a disposable one-use mask to wear at the salon.  We are going to be required to do more to keep everyone safe, and that's not going to be free.   Most service providers will have no choice but to see fewer people per day to ensure the premises are well disinfected between clients.   Hair stylists for example, can stack clients in their salon (basically working on two people at a time - doing a cut on one client while a colour is processing on another).  This will be pretty much impossible now, because a stylist would need to change their PPE every time they approach a different client.  There will also be empty stations to ensure physical distancing can take place.  (I'm not a hair stylist nor do I play one on TV, I am just thinking about how salons are typically run).  So all that to say, everyone who makes it through, is going to be making a lot less money. So be kind.  

We want to get back to work, doing what we love, while we still can.  Nobody knows when this will end.  We're all in this together and we feel the love from everyone who appreciates us.  We can't wait to welcome our guests back safely!  

Stay safe,