The novel coronavirus COVID-19 is all over the news right now, and you’re sure to be thinking about it, too. While over half of those diagnosed globally have confirmed to have since recovered, there are a lot of unknowns about the outbreak that are still yet to be discovered. So it’s always good to be prepared!
Your pet grooming business is a service industry profession. There’s NO way to completely avoid coming into contact with people and their dogs. If there was, it’d be impossible for you to do your job! There are, however, some common sense ways you can help minimize the risk to both your and your clients’ health.
Check out these 6 simple tips, and start implementing them into your pet grooming business practices ASAP!
Wash your hands
We’ll say it again, and louder for those in the back: WASH. YOUR. HANDS.
Current research suggests that the Coronavirus spreads mainly via respiratory droplets. This means that when an infected person coughs or sneezes (or talks, or even breathes), tiny droplets of water containing the disease can be transmitted to nearby persons and surfaces.
One of the most effective ways of limiting the spread of this type of virus is by washing your hands frequently and thoroughly. Get into the habit of washing your hands several times per hour, including any time before and after you’ve touched a communal item. Examples of this would be:
- Grooming tools that are shared in the salon
- The office phone
- The cash register
- And any other surface/ item that’s regularly touched by more than one person!
Mind you, washing your hands doesn’t need to be a fancy endeavor. Good old-fashioned soap and water works perfectly fine. There’s no need to constantly break out the hand sanitizer. That’ll likely just wreak havoc on your skin anyway.
That being said, it’s a good idea to keep hand sanitizer bottles around. Clients may want to use them when they enter and/or leave your salon.
Lastly, but just as importantly: keep your hands off your face!
Stay home if you’re sick
If you’re coughing, sneezing, or have a fever, DON’T risk it. Sure, it could just be a cold (and it probably is). But it could also be something worse. Because of this, do yourself – and everyone around you – a favor by taking some time off from your job.
This is especially true if you’ve had contact, or suspected contact, with ANYONE infected with the Coronavirus. Even if you’ve simply traveled recently to hard-hit areas, it’s best for you to err on the side of caution.
Remember: it can take several days for you to start showing symptoms of the Coronavirus. During this time, you’re still infectious. So if you’ve recently come into direct contact with someone known to have the Coronavirus, it’s probably better to be safe than sorry.
If you run your own pet grooming business, reschedule your appointments! Alternately, if you work at a salon, talk with your boss and explain the situation. They may very agree with your decision to stay home for a few days, so as not to take any risks.
If you can’t stay home when you’re sick…
If you absolutely cannot stay home just because of a cough (we live in the real world and there are bills to pay, I get it), then take extra precautions to ensure you don’t get anyone else sick:
- Wear a mask. Most masks aren’t great at preventing you from becoming infected, but they ARE really good at helping you to not infect others. Regular surgical masks catch those respiratory droplets we discussed earlier, and prevent you from spreading your germs all over the place.
- Avoid direct contact. This means no handshakes with clients, no hugging your colleague on her birthday, etc. Try to stay a good 6 feet away from anyone else. Keep your germs to yourself as much as possible!
- Warn your clients. Your clients should be informed of your condition. Remember, just because you have mild symptoms doesn’t mean you can’t pass along a potentially dangerous disease to someone else. If you’re sick, it’s a good idea to warn your clients ahead of time and see if they’d rather reschedule their appointment. Most will be extremely grateful that you have their best interest at heart.
- Warn your colleagues. Similarly, colleagues will want to know that you’re sick so they can make an informed decision about how to handle the situation. You might not be aware of a colleague’s severely immunocompromised family member who lives with him. If you absolutely have to go to work while sick, warn your colleagues in advanced so that they can choose to stay home themselves, or take other precautions. (Also, maybe prepare yourself to be the black sheep, too, until you’re feeling better.)
Encourage Sick Clients to Reschedule
You’re allowed to refuse to work with a sick client, if you don’t feel comfortable. You’re allowed to turn clients away. If clients walk into your salon coughing and sneezing, you can ask them to leave.
During the outbreak, you can help everyone stay safe by amending your cancellation policy. Encourage clients who are ill to reschedule their appointments to a future date when they’ve recovered.
Coronavirus and Pets
According to the WHO, there is no evidence that pets can be infected with the Coronavirus. However, it’s possible that infected individuals’ pets can transmit the disease in the same way you can become infected by touching an infected surface.
So if an infected individual asks you to groom their dog (even if it’s dropped off at your salon by another person), it’s a good idea to take extra precautions with that dog. It might even be in your best interests to reschedule the appointment altogether.
Clean Your Space
More than ever, it’s worth taking extra time to keep your work space as clean as possible. This means regularly disinfecting all tools, cleaning all surfaces with soap and water, and using air purifiers to try and keep the air clean.
There’s lots of news floating around about the Coronavirus. It’s hard to stay on top of it all. It’s a good idea to find a trustworthy source, and then check it regularly for updates.
In the United States, the CDC has a very informative Coronavirus Disease web portal that’s updated regularly. Consult their recommendations for disease prevention, so you can stay on top of the current risk assessment for your area.
The bottom line is: no one knows exactly what will happen with the Coronavirus over the coming months, or even years. At this time, risks are still very low. But being informed, and taking common sense measures to stay safe, are always a good idea.
So while you don’t have to turn your grooming salon into a surgical suite, it’s a good idea to stop letting clients lick your face. Maybe their dogs, too.