Salons and other businesses in the beauty industry are reopening in many regions, but there are still restrictions in effect in order to maintain sanitary conditions and reduce the spread of COVID-19. There are several measures taken so that these businesses can operate safely, but one of the most straightforward is to reduce the number of people in on-premises at once. To this end, salons are adopting stricter scheduling and appointment rules to prevent overcrowding.
The Importance of Social Distancing in Salons
With unfamiliar people coming in and out constantly, hair and nail salons have been identified as a potential vector of the spread of the pandemic. The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, announced in May that the first community outbreak of coronavirus in the state began in a nail salon. Not only do customers come into close physical contact with employees, but many customers are served in the same location over the course of a day, while others wait their turn in close proximity to each other.
As states and countries go through stages of reopening, salons are permitted to open as well, but restrictions are in effect. Aside from requiring employees to wear masks and gloves and disinfect their equipment, the biggest step they can take is to reduce the number of people present. Having customers wait inside the premises is no longer viable, and reducing the number of clients present at once is also advised.
Advance Scheduling, No Walk-ins
Hair and nail salon patrons are already accustomed to making appointments, but walk-ins now impossible and scheduling in advance is the only way to get an appointment under the current conditions. With the limitations on the number of simultaneous clients in the same location and pent-up demand from the past few months, appointments will be harder to get and patrons will need to schedule further in advance than before.
Salons need a process to inform customers who do schedule appointments of the conditions that they will be under for their visit. These include the need to wear a mask when they are at the salon, as well as making sure they have not had symptoms or contact someone with symptoms in the last 14 days.
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Online Scheduling Can Simplify Communicating with Clients
While appointments can be scheduled by phone, the need for additional communication between client and salon staff to establish these rules or to cancel unexpectedly means that online scheduling and mobile scheduling apps are a valuable resource to salons.
A digital schedule can display all of a stylist’s available appointment times so clients can easily select one. Just as importantly, they can display all of the current rules and restrictions to advise clients on how to approach their visit with health and safety in mind. Alternately, they can email or text the client with a reminder before their appointment to make sure they follow the procedures.
Finally, since clients can’t wait at the salon for their stylist to be ready, digital scheduling makes it easier for the salon staff to notify them that they can come in. This makes it more convenient for clients to wait outside or in their cars if they arrive too early.
After months of no access to hair and nail service, many clients are eager to get back to salons, but the increased demand means that scheduling may be backed up for a long time. Salons that take the right safety measures and approach reopening with a clear plan for scheduling new appointments can serve as many of their clients as possible while also maintaining good hygiene. In order to meet social distancing requirements, both salon owners and patrons need to approach reopening cautiously and with safety in mind.