Of all the headlines over the past few months, one topic has dominated the news: COVID-19. The pandemic’s impact has been changing almost daily – for businesses, extended closures are gradually being lifted, although not as quickly as we hoped. Caution is the best policy for any industry that has close contact with its customers, but a spa is in a particularly challenging spot when it comes to managing hygiene, social distancing and customer “flow” – where once a room could be full of people, we need to reevaluate how we use space and how many customers can be accommodated safely. Fire codes and health regulations have been concerned with these issues for decades, but only now are we forced to consider the logistics of a highly contagious disease as it impacts the way we do business. Unfortunately, there is still much to learn about this virus and how it spreads, so guidelines are under development and may be subject to change.
The key facts a spa worker should know are:
The coronavirus has been found living on surfaces for many days, and can be airborne for several hours. If they are asymptomatic, those who are infected may not be aware they are spreading the virus, and scientists are still working to determine why some people are less affected than others. In some cases, the virus has reappeared in a “cured” patient.
Social distancing is preventative, but it is not a guarantee against transmission. Most likely, wearing masks will be a courtesy, or even a requirement, for an indefinite time – possibly, permanently.
Spa Inc. will continue to share resources and updates both here and online, to ensure each spa has a “battle plan” for tackling this new challenge. Working with Leading Spas of Canada and other valued partners, we’ll share information to help your business survive, and thrive.
Here’s a good place to start:
ISPA (experienceispa.com) offers a comprehensive set of resources, including a reopening toolkit, hygiene guidelines and customizable templates for signage. Its most recent Snapshot Survey (April 2020) shows the impact of this pandemic, including some interesting facts:
67 percent of spas did not have a confirmed reopening date;
78 percent of businesses said the virus had “significant impact” on their operations;
37 percent delayed a product launch;
59 percent launched educational webinars.
ISPA provides many suggestions to streamline the process of reopening. Touchless payment options, complimentary masks and gloves, face shields and other measures are among the changes that spas are implementing. According to ISPA, for example, air in a sauna should be refreshed seven to 10 times an hour, and air in a steam room should be refreshed six times an hour; also, product testers should be removed from retail areas.
Countless other resources are available online, including an explosion of webinars by many of our favourite spas and brands. For more updates, visit SpaInc.ca and subscribe to our e-newsletter (six yearly, featuring industry news and events).