Nail salons reopen to varying degrees of business

Some of the nail salons that reopened post COVID-19 lockdown have reported an initial influx of clients, with business slowing in the past two weeks.

Bella Vita Nail Art Studio on the West Rand reopened on 20 June, the day after government published the protocols that allowed salons to reopen.

Says owner Chantelle Ayres: “I was already prepped in terms of the regulations and ready to hit the road running the second we got the green light. The first three weeks of business were extremely busy, but since mid-July, business has been very slow.

“Unfortunately, I have lost a lot of clients due to them being serviced during lockdown by other nail techs, or them taking financial strain, or being in self-isolation.”

Prior to opening, Ayres hired a third party company to draft COVID salon safety protocols so that she could focus on getting the salon ready instead of focusing on admin. “I implemented very strict protocols in my salon, added all the necessary posters, a sanitation station, a perspex screen, etc. I sent out a notice to all clients detailing my salon protocols.

“As the only nail tech in the salon, I have scaled down from six clients a day to a maximum of four clients per day. This gives me an hour in between clients to clean my salon, tools and products thoroughly before the next clients arrives, The other reason for the long rest period is that any harmful particles in the air can fall to the floor, so I am using an ultrasonic humidifier.”

Booked diary

Winner of the 2020 Professional Beauty Award for Nail Salon of the Year, Plush Nails & Beauty in Roodepoort, reopened on 23 June.

Says owner Tania Biddle: “Although we are not as busy as usual, we are able to maintain a relatively fully booked diary. However, a few of our clients have let us know that they cannot come back for regular treatments just yet, as they are taking financial strain. I think there are also a few clients who will only come back once the situation with the virus has improved.

“Our clients are taking the pandemic very seriously and are letting us know if they cannot make their appointment due to experiencing flu-like symptoms, or if they have come into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.”

Biddle notes that the new hygiene and safety protocols mandated by government have taken some getting used to. “We now book at least 15 minutes extra for each appointment to give our staff enough time to properly clean, sanitise and disinfect the salon. It also ensures that our clients won’t need to cross paths in the salon during each appointment, limiting exposure for everyone.

“We have strict rules in place and management keeps a close eye on this to make sure that protocols are being adhered to at all times.”

Plush Nails & Beauty has a team of three technicians, and only one client per technician is booked at a time and there is enough time to ensure that the client exits the premises before the next one arrives. The technicians are taking alternate days off, as well as practicing a strict social distancing protocol in the salon.

“Our clients were so excited to come back,” comments Biddle, “but I do think most people are nervous and some even feel anxious. Our main aim is to maintain a happy and relaxed salon environment where clients can feel safe. They appreciate that we are following very strict protocols with every treatment being done in the salon.”

Biddle reports that during lockdown, most of her clients removed their gel overlays themselves. “We sent all our clients a step by step guideline on how to safely remove their gel overlay. Once we were allowed to, we provided homecare kits, which clients could order from us and they were able to look after and maintain their natural nails at home.”

Slow start

Mary Thebe of @Peace Beauty in Kempton Park reports that as her salon, which reopened last month, is not as busy as she’d hoped, her staff members are still at home because they live far from work and are reliant on public transport.

“So I am currently doing all the services myself,” says Thebe. “Only if I have a family or a couple booked do I call staff members to come through. It has been tough.

“I book one client at a time unless if it is a family that comes for services. Business is usually slow for me during the winter season and since COVID-19 happened, it almost feels like we are out of business because business is slower than usual.”

Thebe finds that some clients who have come into the salon are still a bit nervous, while others have lost their jobs or had their salaries cut. “So even if they would love to book treatments, there are other more important priorities they need to handle. This time that we are going through is hard on a lot of people.”

Busy opening

Shades of Blue in Krugersdorp reopened on 29 June and was fully booked for the first two weeks.

“Unfortunately, we have also lost a few clients due to the financial impact the lockdown had on them and their households,” says owner Melissa De Wet. “However, this made space for new clients. Although this time of the month post lockdown is particularly quiet, it does give me the opportunity to be creative and challenge myself in competitions, as well as working on admin and training. I never had time to do this before.”

Prior to reopening, De Wet had t