The spread of COVID-19 has caused most local spas to temporarily close their doors, but many have begun taking the necessary steps to reopen. Before you welcome your customers back into the fold, it’s important to ensure that you’ve taken the time to educate your staff and prepare your spa to operate safely.
Preparing The Team For Reopening
Before you opened your doors for the first time, you spent countless hours studying the rules and regulations that ensure the safety of your customers and your staff. You did everything by the book, but that book has been thrown out the window by COVID-19. The first step to reopening your spa is to review new regulations and protection guidelines so you can properly train your staff.
When training your staff for the reopening, it’s important that they understand why these new regulations are in place. What may seem like an unnecessarily complicated procedure was designed to protect the safety of everyone in the building, so it isn’t a time to skip steps. Not only is it your responsibility to educate your staff on recent regulations, but it is your ongoing duty to uphold them.
Preparation Tip From Yon-Ka Partner, G20 Spa: “Our management team holds daily conference calls to review progress, share information, brainstorm ideas and problem-solve. I try to read as many articles as possible, especially from industry sources such as vendors, distributors, professional associations, and government agencies, etc. I also attend as many informational webinars and online forums as possible. Last week, I attended a great ISPA Reopening Panel via Zoom. It was worth the time, as I was able to do a mental check on what we have done and what else we might consider doing.”
Recommended Sanitization Procedures
Sanitation has always been a priority, but recommended cleaning and disinfecting procedures look a little different now than they did a few months ago. Keeping your spa properly sanitized requires more than simply having cleaning materials on hand – you also need to educate your staff how to use them.
Have a conversation with your staff about the distinction between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitation. Review proper hand-washing procedure and talk about the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Train your staff in no-touch greetings for guests (such as bowing or waving your hand) and walk through sanitation requirements to follow before and after each guest’s appointment. Provide adequate hygiene stations for your employees and don’t forget extras like hand lotion to prevent dry, chapped skin.
Staff should wash their hands frequently throughout the day, especially before and after each appointment. Local regulations may vary, but staff performing treatments should wear a mask and all surfaces and equipment should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized between treatments and at the beginning of each day. It may help to create a checklist for new sanitation procedures for your employees to follow exactly.
Sanitation Tip From Yon-Ka Partner, Cielo Spa: “Most of the professional disinfecting cleaners need to sit on surfaces from 1-10 min. So everything that’s touched needs to sprayed and wiped down. As for tools I like using 70% alcohol and then soaking in barbacide. Wiping down products is also important—I find alcohol is the best. Put aside every product you touch so you can clean easily and not have to search at end of service.”
Personal Protection Guidelines
Local and state regulations may vary when it comes to personal protection guidelines for staff and guests. You may have also been required to make adjustments to your treatment menu, so be sure to educate staff about these changes and make that information readily available to customers as well. It will make your guests feel more comfortable if there are signs to show which areas have been recently sanitized and to provide guidance for their own behavior at the spa.
In developing a protocol for personal protection, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you need to make changes to the schedule to avoid overlapping or too many staff in one area?
- Have to provided ample space to maintain social distancing in communal areas?
- Do you have a set protocol for employees or guests who become ill or show symptoms?
- Have you made adjustments to account for customer capacity restrictions? How will you monitor it?
Develop a protocol for the start of each shift to check in with individual employees regarding their health. If possible, conduct a temperature screening before each employee starts work and make sure your staff know their rights when it comes to sick leave and sick pay.
Yon-Ka Partner, Spa High Brow offers this sage advice for opening…
- Before opening, remove all linens and have them professional cleaned.
- Use CaviCide to clean and disinfect all areas of spa on a regular basis.
- Placed plexi plastic protector at reception desk to ensure less virus contact but that you can still see and interact with the other person.
- Add hand sanitizing stations at every elevator, lobby, reception area, and in front of each treatment room.
- Make sure each chair in your waiting area and treatment room has a disposable protective paper cover over it.
Educating Your Staff and Guests
You can’t expect your staff to learn every detail of the new laws and regulations. It’s your job to understand them and to put policies and procedures in place to ensure adherence. Hold a meeting to review new regulations and provide plenty of time for your staff to ask questions. It’s important to ensure that not only does your staff understand how to implement the new policies, but they also need to be prepared to answer customer questions about them.
Once you’ve established new procedures for safety and sanitation, it’s a good idea to post those guidelines so they are clearly visible to both staff and guests. Post signs to remind guests about your policies regarding social distancing and wearing face-masks – you should also be prepared to provide face masks for those who need or choose to wear them.
Education Tip From Yon-Ka Partner, Cielo Spa: “Be patient and be kind…we are all going through big changes so being gracious goes a long way. Be sure to make eye contact with clients especially the first time they see you. The whole mask thing is weird let’s face it. Making them feel secure is key to having them feel good about it.”
Updating Your Services Offered
As states start to reopen, many are doing so with limitations. Not only may you find yourself dealing with capacity restrictions, but you may not be allowed to provide your full menu of services right away. Even if your state or local government hasn’t provided detailed recommendations, decide what services you can safely provide, taking into account the need for additional cleaning and sanitation. Be sure to update your treatment menu online and consider sending it out to your mailing list and social media channels.
In addition to updating your treatment menu, make the necessary adaptations to your procedure for welcoming guests. You might ask your guests to arrive 15 minutes early and wait in their call, texting or calling the spa to signal their arrival. It is important to minimize exposure and cross-contact for the safety of your guests as well as your staff. You may also need to revisit your scheduling and cancelation policies to accommodate these changes.
Service Update Tip From Yon-Ka Partner, G20 Spa: “We did not make any changes to our service menu; however, we are still awaiting the final regulations for spa to be published. We do have a couple of specialty services that we will not be able to offer until Phase 4, which is the final phase of the State Reopening. Additionally, we will not be able to allow our guests to use the steam and sauna until Phase 4.”
After weeks or months out of operation, you’re eager to see your spa filled with happy customers once more. For the safety of your guests and staff (and the community as a whole), however, it’s important to reopen mindfully and to follow all guidelines and regulations for safety and sanitation.
If you have any questions, please leave your comments below or reach out to us on social media!