By Nicole Kalish, Andis Global Education Manager
As most grooming shops, mobile groomers and at-home businesses are opening back up again after the COVID-19 shutdowns, it is imperative to keep our places of business safe not only for our customers, but also ourselves and our employees. This is a great time to set guidelines if you do not yet have them in place. Hopefully you followed some type of protocol already prior to the pandemic, if not, this will get you started.
It’s important to adhere to your state, county and city legal requirements; there are many online resources available for you to follow. Be sure to look at local guidelines or laws regarding wearing facemasks and/or gloves. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website is a comprehensive resource worth looking at for reopening and continued safety.
Steps for social distancing and stopping the spread at your shop are as follows.
Pet Drop Off: Safety is of utmost importance here. There are a few social-distancing options that you can incorporate into your new routine. If you have an outside fenced-in area, you can place a crate or pen inside it as an extra precaution where the owner can drop off the dog. The owner will take the leash and collar with them. Once the owner has left, you can get the dog out of the enclosure with your own slip lead. I do not recommend putting a crate in a non-fenced area as that can lead to dogs escaping during drop-off. Another option is to have a designated area inside your location with a crate or pen in the lobby. The owner will drop off the dog in the crate or pen and once the they haves left the building, you can safely retrieve the dog. For pick up, just reverse those steps. You can also take payment online, over the phone or have a place for them to leave the check or cash. Communication with clients is essential as a new system will take time to get used to.
Bathing and Grooming: Unless a dog is totally matted or going from very long to very short hair, I always recommend taking pets directly to the tub to avoid any cross contamination. Plus, bathing first helps to greatly reduce the amount of wear and tear on your clippers and blades when working on dirty coats.
Salon Sanitation: You will be cleaning more than you ever have before; this is going to take more time and effort—and possibly more staff. Be prepared for all the extra work coming in and getting through the post COVID-19 grooms by making sure you have enough staff on hand. There are a few good disinfectants that kill the virus, so make sure you read labels thoroughly and train your staff on how to use these products. I recommend basic salon disinfection: cleaning surfaces, such as counters, grooming tables, tubs and doors after each client. Cleaning floors and high-contact spots, such as door handles and phones, multiple times a day is a good idea. Stress the importance of frequent handwashing with your staff.
Tool Sanitation: All tools should be sanitized and disinfected after every single groom—no exceptions! Clippers, blades and attachment combs should be brushed free of all hair and debris and sanitized; blades should also be oiled after each pet. This practice should always be used, COVID-19 or not. Again, we want to keep our tools of the trade in tip-top shape as they are our money-makers.
For more information check out the Andis Grooming College website for grooming education, tool care, maintenance tips and videos at andisgroomingcollege.com. Investigate your state associations, as of late, many states have formed their own grooming associations and have the knowledge and guidelines for your area (many can be found on Facebook). Another good resource to check out is the National Alliance of Grooming Associations at www.NAGA.pet.