If you do choose to go for a massage or get your hair done next week, it will be a very different experience from what it was before COVID-19 hit Manitoba.
Bringing in masks, frequent sanitization and changing the way clients are booked are just some of the things owners of massage therapy businesses and hair salons say they will do to keep their employees and customers safe when they are allowed to reopen on Monday.
The first phase of Manitoba’s reopening plan, announced Wednesday by Premier Brian Pallister, will restart a wide variety of businesses shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from hair stylists to clothing stores.
Candace Schellenberg, the owner of Sacred Stone Massage Therapy in Selkirk, said her therapists will wear masks and have the option of wearing gloves and gowns during treatments.
Clients are being asked to at least wear cotton masks, she said.
She’s also drastically changing the way they schedule clients to allow more time for cleaning between appointments.
“Before COVID, we would have had about 15 minutes between clients to change over the sheets, rebook clients, do the payments and those sort of things after treatment,” she said.
Now they’ll double that to allow time to sanitize the room completely, she said.
“This is uncharted territory and we’re just going to kind of try to figure things out as we go and make sure that we have the time to set aside to do it as safely as possible.”
Allison Marinelli, the co-owner of Prep Hair, said they are prepared to open on May 4, with similar precautions.
They’ve been stocking up on sanitizing products in anticipation of reopening and developing protocols to keep their employees and customers safe.
“So we are prepared and we are able to open up on Monday, which is a blessing,” she said.
“A lot of businesses aren’t, and I think people should take their time to make sure that they have everything they need before they jump into it, because it could lead to more problems if you’re not prepared.”
Clients will be required to wear a mask and will be asked whether they’re travelled or shown any symptoms before they can enter the building, Marinelli said.
They’re also planning to space out their chairs so stylists can be at least two metres apart at all times, she said.
Clients eager to get back
Schellenberg said her phone “exploded” with calls from clients who want to book an appointment for a massage.
“A lot of people have been doing renos and yard work and all these extra things, and so they’re really excited to get their bodies back in shape and start looking after themselves again.”
At Prep Hair, the stylists handle bookings for their own clients, so they have some work ahead of them to catch up with cancellations and wait lists, Marinelli said.
“We’re excited to get to all the colour corrections that we’re going to have to do,” she said.
“But yeah, the reply has been really great and the support has been amazing.”
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