What is coronavirus?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. Nobody is certain yet how the illness is spread from person to person, but the NHS says that similar viruses are spread in cough droplets. The symptoms are a cough, fever and/or shortness of breath.
It goes without saying that we should all follow these standard prevention recommendations:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing (or use your elbow)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illnesses
Government instruction for suspension of businesses
Today on March 20th, the government has announced that with almost immediate effect a series of businesses including Pubs, Theatres, Spas and Massage parlours will need to temporarily close.
The decision to introduce further measures has been taken based on the latest advice from the world-leading health and scientific experts advising the government. When infection rates come down, the government will remove measures as soon as it is safe to do so, guided by scientific advice.
The government is working urgently to further improve testing and monitoring, which will also help in relaxing the measures as soon as possible.
As per the Government guidance, to help avoid organisational problems, we will automatically block your calendar starting 22nd March to April 22nd. All appointments booked through the Treatwell website, app or booking widget for this period will also be cancelled, with any money pre-paid refunded to your clients. We will communicate this to these clients on your behalf. You’re free to continue to manage your direct appointments yourself.
Are there extra safeguards I should put in place in my salon?
As all hair and beauty treatments are done in close contact and involve touch, it’s only natural that both your clients and your team will be worried about maintaining good hygiene. In addition to the standard prevention recommendations above, we’ve gathered some advice from our network of salon partners:
- Remind clients that they should not attend their appointments if they’re showing any symptoms or have been in close contact with anyone else with symptoms. You can find handy templates here
- Make sure your team members don’t come to work if they’re displaying symptoms or have been in close contact with anybody who is
- Ask clients to wash their hands on arrival at the salon and/or provide hand sanitiser
- Provide tissues in the salon/treatment room, with no-touch dispensers
- Clean surfaces after every contact, along with handrails and door handles
- Clean styling stations between clients with antibacterial spray
- Give each client a freshly laundered gown and towel
- Ensure glasses and cups are cleaned at 60 degrees
How can I reassure clients it’s safe to attend my salon/beauty room?
It’s understandable that clients are looking for reassurance, and you can give that to them by proactively communicating your hygiene measures, your awareness of the situation, and the extra efforts you’re making to ensure their safety.
- Update your website and social media with a statement about your approach
- Send an email via Treatwell Connect to all clients letting them know you’re open and taking extra steps to keep them safe.
- Train your team on your policies to ensure they can answer client queries
- Consider amending working hours to accommodate more vulnerable or nervous clients who would like to attend appointments at quieter times
How can I protect my team?
We know the safety and wellness of your team is a big priority for you. The first thing to do is to create a Staff Illness Policy covering COVID-19. The policy will need to:
- Provide thorough training for the team on the standard prevention recommendations and your additional in salon measures
- Provide thorough training for the team on recognising the symptoms of COVID-19
- Encourage your team to stay home if they have any symptoms or have been in close contact with anyone who has
- Check your sick leave policies are in line with public health guidance and that every team member knows what the policy is
- Add a policy to send home anyone who comes into the salon displaying any symptoms or develops them while at work
- Be sympathetic and flexible with team members who might need to stay home because someone in their household is sick or they are caring for a vulnerable person
- Request that your team pre-advise you of any travel, and that they understand the requirements to self-isolate when they return home from any affected country/area: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
- Lead by example: make it clear to your team that you will be following these guidelines, too
How can I take steps to prepare for a difficult time?
We know this is an uncertain and worrying time for our industry. We’ve gathered some wisdom from our network of salon owners:
- Check your insurance: are you covered for business Interruption in the case of infectious diseases?
- Use the HMRC helpline (0800 0159 559) to ask for help, whether that’s deferring payments or setting up a payment plan
- Call loan providers and ask for a payment break
- Check all invoices owed and request an extension on payment terms
- Call your landlord / letting agent and ask if they can support you
- Consider which non-essential expenses could be cut/paused
- Create a daily cash flow spreadsheet to keep track of your expenditure and credit status
- Cross-train your team so that if someone is off sick, other people will be able to cover their duties. You might not be able to train them to provide a different treatment, but think about their role within your salon: reception duties, social media, being an expert on the software, etc.
- Prepare a “Quiet Day / Quiet Week” schedule with an adapted rota
- Communicate this schedule to the team now so it’s not a shock if you have to move to it
- Talk to other salon owners / therapists - we’re all in this together anc can share our experiences to support each other
The key message is to ask for help and not bury your head in the sand. Suppliers, banks and landlords all want to keep you in business so that they get paid, so it’s in their interests to support you if they can.
How will the Government help reduce the financial impact of coronavirus on my business?
This situation is fast-moving and more help for businesses is being offered by the day. Most notably, the Government has pledged help for businesses to help keep people employed, by offering to pay up to 80% of wages (up to £2,500 a month). For those who remain in work but cannot work due to being infected with Coronavirus, the Government will help with payment for Statutory Sick Pay. Additionally, payment holidays for many Government taxes such as Business Rates and VAT have been introduced. On top of that, the Government is offering 12-month interest free loans to firms that need capital during this period.
We know this is a difficult period, to find out what these new measures might mean for your business, please read the article in our partner help center: ’Government financial support for UK salons during the coronavirus pandemic’.
What if my salon has to close for a period of time?
We know this is a big worry, and we hope it doesn’t come to this. However, in the worst-case scenario, here are some things to think about:
- Identify what you can focus on to get you ‘business ready’ when things return to normal. Can you learn new business skills and upskill your team?
- The Treatwell Team will be putting together a range of educational sessions you can join remotely, and we’ll keep you in the loop as we organise the schedule
- Stay in contact with your clients: they’ll miss you as much as you miss them, so keep in touch with regular social media posts and even calls to maintain a relationship
- Build a local network: connect with local cafes, restaurants, theatres etc and share your experiences, ideas and worries. Everyone is in this together and it’s useful to hear from people outside of our own industry
- Become a Pro on Connect: the team at Treatwell will be working even if you’re closed, and we’ll be on hand to refresh your knowledge, show you new things, or just have a chat
- We can ‘Temporarily Disable” your Treatwell listing, meaning you’ll be ready to get straight back online as soon as you’re able
We know this is a difficult time and we want to support you in any way possible. We’re only a phone call away.