By now, we are all probably REALLY tired of hearing about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). 
Let’s just talk about what you need to know about this virus in the salon, spa and wellness centre environment.  Estheticians and spa therapists perform personal services in close contact with their clients, and that’s the job. We’ll keep it simple, and relate things back to what you already know.
A few key points:
  • COVID-19 virus has a “basic reproduction” (R0) factor of between 2-3, which means, on average, each person who has the virus will infect 2-3 other people. This number will likely change as researchers learn more about the virus and the illness it causes. How long a person is contagious, and how quickly an illness spreads is kind of variable.  For context, the seasonal flu has an R0 factor of 2-3, and measles is somewhere around 12. Public health efforts will offer the best solution to dealing with the situation.
  • The pathogen, and the disease it causes, is transported by droplet, which needs to contact the eye, mouth or nose to be transferred. A droplet is relatively large, and will fall to a surface pretty quickly.
  • Coronavirus is an “enveloped virus”, which means it’s one of the easiest pathogens to kill on a surface
  • This virus lives on a surface for about 7 days (compare that to Norovirus that can live on a surface for up to 3 weeks)
What to do to protect yourself and your clients:
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces to an intermediate level daily (use PREempt RTU following directions on the label)
    • Focus on manicure tables, client chairs, massage tables, telephones, doorknobs and washrooms
  • Wash hands using running water and liquid hand soap frequently, and ask your clients to do the same before any service. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you don’t have easy access to running water.
  • Avoid touching your face (which isn’t good for your skin anyway!)
  • Ensure an adequate supply of quality gloves for performing services
  • Have a steady supply of single use paper towel or hand towels that are laundered after a single use
  • Masks are not an effective preventative for the virus, but they’re still important when performing services that result in debris (such as filing nails) or in the potential presence of fungus (such as a pedicure)
  • Encourage guests to rebook their appointments (without penalty) if they start to feel ill
  • Encourage staff to stay home (without penalty) if they’re not feeling well
At the end of the day, the best advice is not to panic, but have a healthy respect for the care of your own health as well as the health of those around you.
This information is based on publicly available knowledge, as well as the experience gained from teaching infection control to the spa and wellness industry over the past several years. Of course, this can’t be construed as medical advice.