As Coronavirus is spreading globally, here’s what you can do…
Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is becoming an unavoidable topic of conversation that understandably leads to an important quest...
As Coronavirus is spreading globally, here’s what you can do…
Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is becoming an unavoidable topic of conversation that understandably leads to an important question when running a business: What can you do to avoid contracting the virus?
What is COVID-19? COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19? The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Around 80% of people recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
How to prepare your Hair and Beauty business at this time; In the hair and beauty industry, it’s a given that you already prioritise the cleanliness of your salon or spa, but now is the time to be even more diligent. It’s very important to keep your salon or spa sparking clean as COVID-19 spreads through particles in the air as a result of coughing or sneezing.
In your salon, it may be an idea to:
· Have tissues readily available
· Have hand sanitizer in each stylist’s booth/spa or salon room
· Use disposable wipes for commonly used surfaces (hair washing stations, manicure stations, massage tables, your front desk, tables in your waiting room, etc.)
· Display signs throughout your business reminding clients and employees of correct hygiene, such as how to wash your hands properly.
· After each appointment, wipe down the entirety of your beauty/spa rooms and deep clean your space daily with a disinfecting cleaner.
Your staff The majority of treatments within the hair and beauty business often require a hands-on approach- lash specialists, hairstylists, manicurists and massage therapists to name a few. It’s important to have hand sanitiser available at every beauty station you can as it shows the customers that you are being diligent on the current situation. If one of your staff members is feeling ill, encourage them to stay home. For employees who aren’t feeling 100%, create a back-up plan to ensure you have plenty of coverage.
Reiterate how important it is for each employee to:
· Wash their hands before and after each appointment - Experts agree that washing your hands frequently is one of the most important acts in preventing virus spread, specifically, “clean hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds,”.
· Cough and sneeze into the crook of their elbow, rather than out in the open or into their hands
· If they do cough and sneeze, wash their hands again
· Disinfect every tool and piece of equipment used during their appointment
· To communicate these updates, hold a mandatory meeting for all staff to attend. You may even want to send a follow-up email and put up a poster in your staff break room as an ongoing reminder.
What happens if prevention isn't enough and you have to close the doors of your beauty business for a few days or even weeks?
Ensure that you have up-to-date contact information for all your clients. That way you can provide updates regarding how the virus is impacting your business. Also, this is vital in the event that a client/employee has been exposed/infected to know when the client came in, which treatment and which therapist etc.
Use your email platform to send an email update or, if you have a mobile app for your business, a push notification to all your clients.
If you rely on a landline phone at your beauty business, forward those calls to a mobile number as a back-up so you won’t miss them if you have to be away from your facility.
Use your social media pages to keep customers well-informed of your beauty business, opening hours, and staff. They'll want to know how you’re doing and when they can expect to schedule services again.
Increased Risk – Damage Limitation
Despite following all the advised safety precautions, the main risk will be coming into contact with people who are already infected or have recently travelled to virus hotspots and this should be your primary concern,
Be aware of where staff have recently travelled to or intend to travel to over the coming months. If their destination involves one of the COVID-19 hot spots you should not expect or welcome them back to work until they have observed any relevant self-quarantine period (usually 14 days). If you know one of your employees are planning a trip, then you should have plenty of time to arrange cover staff should the employee not be able to return to work for a longer period of time.
Lastly, some consideration should be given to asking your clients to confirm whether they have recently travelled to any of the virus hotspots in the last 14 days or have been feeling unwell. You don’t necessarily have to refuse to treat them, but you may want to consider delaying their appointment until they have been symptom free for 14 days. To expose yourself or your staff unduly would have a great effect on your business and will not aid the UK in containing the spread of the virus.
We hope you don’t need to take these more drastic measures, but it is always a good idea to be prepared and think of ways to protect your business to keep any financial losses to a minimum.
Will my Insurance Cover Me if I Choose to Close my Business?
At the current time the Government have not advised businesses to close and to instead follow stringent hygiene procedures. Therefore, if you choose to close your business due to a disinclination to trade then this is not an insurable peril and you would not be able to claim. The majority of insurance policies carry a material damage proviso for business interruption claims which means that in order to claim for business interruption an insured peril must have occurred to stop you trading – such as fire, flood or theft.
It has recently been reported in the media that the government have declared the insurance stance for the recent outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a notifiable disease. What does this actually mean? A notifiable disease simply means a disease which the Government must be notified about. The classification of Coronavirus as a notifiable disease doesn’t mean it’s no longer communicable. It is still very much a communicable disease by definition and is a standard exclusion on most insurance policies. We believe this classification may assist some individuals with travel insurance, Statutory Sick Pay and some Business Interruption cover.
Business interruption policies will cover the closure or restriction on the use of your premises due to the occurrence of a Notifiable Human Disease attributable to food or drink supplied from the Premises. There is a long list of such diseases but COVID-19 is not listed and would not normally be contracted via the food chain. Accordingly, unless the Government or local authority specifically closed down your business to decontaminate it then it is unlikely that any claim will be met. It is always important to scrutinise your insurance policy in case your cover is broader than the industry standard.
This is currently an ever evolving situation so things could develop for example if the Government enforced mandatory changes being made to insurance policies throughout the insurance industry, but it is currently unlikely that a claim for lost earnings will be paid should a business have to close due to employee sickness or disinclination to trade.
We believe with a reasonable level of awareness and suitable adaptions you and your business will come through this unprecedented situation in good health.