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Members Share: Coping with Positive COVID-19 Diagnoses in the Salon

Maybe you haven’t gone through a positive COVID-19 diagnosis within your salon, spa or barbershop network yet, or maybe you feel you could do a better job, procedurally, the next time you do. Either way, knowledge is power, and ISBN is committed to sharing it!

Learn from ISBN members who have gone through the experience of having a customer or team member (or both) test positive for COVID-19.  Get valuable insights and tips on how to tighten up your policies and response systems, and how and why to polish your relationship with your local health department.

Listen in now to an exclusive ISBN member-to-member online conversation with real-life learnings shared from three different ISBN member organizations, including a slide presentation with best practice tips from the perspective of legal counsel for a large multi-location franchise group. (Disclaimer: information shared is for reference only, and should not be constituted as legal advice. As always, it is important for members and any business to consult with your own advisors and to consider your state, local and state board of cosmetology mandates.)

Watch the 45-minute “shared conversation” and panelist presentation from June 24 here. Originally a members-only dialogue, the ISBN board and the contributing panelists generously decided to extend it to a broader industry community.

Panelists include:

  • Rhoda Olsen, Vice Chair of Great Clips and Past President of ISBN
  • Emily Brown, COO of V’s Barbershop and ISBN Secretary
  • Jayson Rapaport, co-owner of Birds Barbershops and ISBN Board Member
  • Sarah Yatchak, VP and general legal counsel for Great Clips
  • Clara Osterhage, Great Clips franchisee

Some key takeaways from Yatchak’s presentation prior to the real life “case study” insights shared from the other ISBN member panelists:

  1. Knowledge is power and autopilot won’t work to navigate through any area of coping with COVID-19, including how to address a positive diagnosis. Also, be sure to understand the rules that are available to you: state, local, state board of cosmetology and realize there are more gray areas than might be comfortable.
  2. Stay focused on educating your staff and letting them know how much you care about their wellbeing as well as that of your guests. “Be out loud with your team” and reinforce that COVID-19 sanitation and communication training is not a “one and done.” Keep honoring the sanctity of the salon as a place committed to keeping people well.
  3. Get comfortable with ambiguity, but investigate and be proactive to clarify whatever you can. CDC standards  and state guidelines (which are both naturally evolving) are your baseline, but contact and make the connection with your local health department, too.  If and when there is an incident involving your customers or staff, it will help if you have already done the outreach to find out what your actions and next steps should be.
  4. Lead and engage with health departments in a way that benefits you and your brand. How does navigating a relationship with your health department work? It’s probably not one phone call. You may have to engage multiple times, and Yatchak encourages franchisees or owners to lead with the facts: you are a business owner who has taken steps in compliance with local guidance because you care so much about health and wellness in the salon. Emphasize the PPE and sanitation precautions you are practicing, consistent with cosmetology guidelines that have served salons so well for so many years.  Also, ask specific questions to really illicit what information and collaboration will need from the salon, spa or barbershop in order to address any public health crisis concerns. Take detailed notes and keep a file that recaps every conversation or connection with the health department as reference.
  5. Trust and respect the health department’s guidance. Do what they advise or require. Be really responsive in providing any information they request or in contacting staff or guests. At the same time, if your public health agency sys there is no need to contact customers in your situation, it is important to respect that as well. You can still ask questions, but  the best practice is to trust what the health department is doing and why.
  6. Know the “rules” are going to keep changing. They already have been tweaked and will continue to do so as we all keep learning as we go through this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Embracing a constant state of change, improvement and refinement is a great mindset for you and your staff to help quell frustrations and support each other and your customers.

Watch the 45-minute online session now.

Recap from the online presentation.

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