The Government will determine the date you may return to work. Do not be influenced in anyway by fake news!
Currently the return to work date for all sectors of our industry, including mobiles and freelancers, in England is 4 July, but is conditional on the ‘R’ number remaining below 1 in the period to the 4 July.
In the continued absence of any formal Government guidance regarding what the industry must have in place for health, safety and hygiene purposes for returning to work, this Back to Work Plan will help you plan for re-opening, in a way that will give your staff and customers the confidence they need to know that you have taken all the precautions you can to protect them whilst on your premises. If the Government, in the meantime, gives the industry formal guidance on what they require of us, that will take priority in the parts they mention over this plan.
Prior to Re-Opening Checklist
Producing a Risk Assessment would be an excellent start to preparing for the Re-opening your business. These are simple to prepare; outlining the potential risks and hazards to the premises, the staff and customers of Covid-19, what the risks are, at what level and what you can do to reduce the level of risks to the best of your ability to anyone entering the premises.
- Employees must wash their hands thoroughly before and after each customer service, in addition to other general hand washing duties/times.
- Thorough cleaning of all equipment (salon owned or personally owned) before and after each treatment and a plan for general cleaning and disinfecting of equipment should be in place. (Barbicide or another industry-approved product can be used).
- Thorough cleaning of surfaces such as handles, handrails, light switches, tables, computers that are touched by many.
- Laundry, such as towels and gowns (although disposable towels and gowns would be a good option), to be washed on a hot temperature following each usage. If using washable gowns, they should only be used once, with disposable capes over the top of those gowns.
Whilst we await any firm guidance from Government, it is fairly safe to assume that social distancing will be necessary to have in place to ensure staff and customer’s health, safety and peace of mind.
- There should be at least 2m distance between customers’ locations. (However, the exact distance required to be disclosed/advised by Government guidelines)
- Any waiting areas should be closed or arranged so that it is possible to keep a minimum of 2m distance if space is available. If not, forming a line outside the salon/shop could be an alternative, together with possibly asking customers to wait in their cars if they have one, and customers are then called to advise when they can come into the salon/barber shop.
- Magazines, toys etc. must be removed from the premises.
- Hot water and soap must be available to customers and employees. In addition, hand sanitiser should be available if possible as well.
- Staggered or extended opening and appointment times could be used, to prevent too many employees from working at the same time and to reduce the amount of customers to ensure distancing between workstations.
- In addition, asking customers to attend their appointments alone would help the overall safe and smooth running of the salon/barber shop.
Reception and retail Area
- Discard old magazines and other non-essential items in the waiting area that cannot be disinfected.
- Clean and disinfect all hard, non-porous surfaces such as the reception counter, computer keyboard, phones, door handles, light switches and point of sale equipment – make sure to follow contact time for all surfaces (Barbicide or similar industry-approved products can be used).
- Consider online scheduling in place of written appointment cards.
- Clean and disinfect all shelving, glass and display cases; keep product containers and perspex partitions clean and dust free.
- Ensure you communicate to your customers and staff that you have taken all possible precautions to look after their health and safety whilst on your premises. This can be done by placing a sign in your window, via social media and on your salon/barber shop website. (See draft example letter of reassurance at the end of this plan which could be used/implemented/adapted).
- Use card transactions rather than cash whenever possible.
- Consider taking payment in advance for hair or barber services.
- Place a hand sanitiser on reception desk for clients to use when entering the salon and barbershop.
- Clean and disinfect all non-porous implements used in your salon and services, as required by Government and to support your own diligence in supporting health, safety and hygienic premises (immersion, spray or wipe).
- Store properly disinfected implements in closed containers if possible, that have also been disinfected (wipe or spray).
- Clean and disinfect all electrical implements used in your services.
- Prior to initial re-opening, clean your chairs – consider barrier methods on chairs such as disposable paper drapes or similar.
- Clean and disinfect each work station, trolleys, drawers and any containers used for storage.
- Clean and disinfect all surfaces.
- Replace any soft goods (toilet paper, paper towels etc).
- Consider upgrading to touchless soap dispensers, if you are unable to do this ensure liquid bacterial/soap is available and paper towels where possible.
- Consider adding touchless, automatic hand sanitiser dispensers.
- Ensure there is a rubbish container in the room.
- Remove any products that do not belong in the bathroom – nothing should be stored in a bathroom that isn’t needed.
- To be thoroughly cleaned prior to re-opening, with all surfaces cleaned and disinfected throughout the day. Amount of times dependent on level of usage.
- Only allow one staff member at a time in the staff room, only allow more if the room is big enough and they can be at least 2m apart conforming to social distancing.
- Staff members to be encouraged to bring their own cups/mugs for their own personal use, or better still to use disposable cups or bring in bottled water and/or soft drinks etc.
- In the short term, consider staggering appointments so that waiting areas have minimal congestion.
- Staggering of appointments also gives adequate time to properly clean and disinfect in between customer visits (this could take approximately 10-15 minutes).
- Even if you haven’t used an appointment system before, now may be the time to implement one. If you continue to take walk-ins, be conscious of how many people are in your waiting area (dependent on the size of the salon/barber shop) and be responsible about keeping those numbers low. It may be necessary to ask customers to line up and wait outside, dependent on the size of the premises whilst ensuring a practical distance is maintained between salon chairs.
- Consider not doing ‘dry cuts’, only cutting hair once it has been thoroughly washed and cleansed.
- Consider how to make your point of sales terminals safer: If you are using an iPad type system, asking the customer to read you their card number means that you are the only one touching that screen.
- Encourage contactless payments and only take cash as a last resort.
- Encourage the use of applications like Apple Pay that do not require any interaction between your consumer and your surfaces. If you must touch any type of pad, this should be disinfected frequently.
- In the short term, do not re-introduce things like magazines, self-serve refreshments (coffee and tea etc) or sweets in containers. Either use disposable paper cups for in-salon beverages or suggest that customers bring in their own drink containers/bottles.
- Disinfect reception counter, door handles, phones and writing implements at the beginning of the day and every 1-2 hours, based on traffic through the salon/barber shop.
- Discontinue the practice of shaking hands or any unnecessary contact between customers and staff.
- Decline services for any customer that exhibits signs of illness and make customers aware of this before they attend for their appointment by asking them not to attend if they are showing any symptoms/signs of illness. This also applies if anyone in his or her family household has been ill or is displaying symptoms of illness.
- Consider holding consultations prior to the appointment.
- Any linens that may have been left in the salon prior to lockdown (clean or dirty) should be washed on a hot temperature with detergent and dry until “hot to the touch”
- There should be no moisture or dampness in any linen.
- Launder all towels and capes.
- All linens should be stored in closed, covered cabinets if possible until used.
Clean and disinfect where possible all bowls, handles, hoses, spray nozzles and shampoo chairs after every client.
ALL health, safety and hygiene precautions MUST be followed at all times. The steps below are best practice and may go above and beyond what is officially required.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
- Ensure any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used is single use wherever possible and must be changed after each client ie gloves, masks, aprons etc.
- Use face protection ie a facemask, or a visor (depending on Government guidelines and your own business requirements).
- Use gloves and aprons (disposable if possible) wherever possible and certainly whilst washing hair.
- Hands must be washed after removing gloves following every service.
- Wash hands with soap/water for 20-30 seconds before/after eating, smoking and using the bathroom.
- Wash hands immediately before and after providing a customer service, and in between the service where necessary (keep hand sanitiser available as well where possible).
- If possible, provide hand sanitiser at reception desk and all stations for customers to use.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
- All implements (non-porous) being used on more than one customer must be cleaned and disinfected for the full contact time advised on the disinfectant label before being used again.
- Stations, chairs, trolleys and any other storage containers disinfected throughout the day to ensure vigilance.
- When visiting customers in their own homes, it is imperative that the hairdresser/barber follows the same rigorous hygiene regime with regards to equipment, gowns, and towels and in accordance and with the commitment and co-operation of the customer.
- It would be sensible to contact the customer prior to their appointment to outline what you expect of them to protect you and them.
- It would be prudent to put together whilst preparing for coming out of lockdown, a ‘Risk Assessment’ based upon the risks you perceive to both parties with you visiting their homes, and sharing this with them prior to your visit.
- Asking them to tell you if they or anybody else in their household has been ill in the last 7-14 days.
- Requesting that during your visit, there are not any other family members, children or animals in the same room as you and your customer whilst carrying out the hair service.
- Asking that all surfaces prior to your arrival are cleaned and disinfected. In addition, to inform them that you will call them when you arrive outside their home, to then be asked to enter once all the necessary hygiene, health and safety aspects of your visit have been properly taken care of.
- This is somewhat of a partnership between you and the customer, both looking after each other’s health, safety and well-being.
- Consider taking payment in advance of the appointment.
- Consider holding consultations prior to the appointment.
This plan has been about looking at what you can do to protect both your staff and customers, once we are allowed to go back to business, in whatever guise that might be in the future.
However, the customer too has a role to play in this and should consider your health and safety requirements when entering your premises.