Local personal care, beauty industry reacts to coronavirus spread
Local barbers and hairstylists have a duty to be free from COVID-19. (iStock photo)
Report by Claude Mills and Kadeem Rodgers
As the new reality of the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) takes effect, the economic fallout will reverberate through several industries.
The local cosmetic and beauty industry is already reeling as its players scramble to navigate unfamiliar waters and adhere to the battery of rules and protocols triggered by the scary momentum of the outbreak.
Some beauty insiders are, however, not in panic mode, and with good reason: the industry stands on sanitisation and clean practices as it is highly regulated by the public health authority.
Even so, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness has indicated that public health laws will be strictly enforced as the government seeks to contain the spread of the coronavirus locally.
All food, cosmetic, and related industries are obligated to be free of COVID-19.
Failure to adhere to the laws while continuing to work in these industries is an offence, Prime Minister Andrew Holness advised viaTwitter on Friday.
All persons in the food industry, hair, cosmetology and related industries are obligated to be free of Covid-19. Failure to adhere to the laws while continuing to work in these industries is an offense.— Andrew Holness (@AndrewHolnessJM) March 13, 2020
With that said, there are considerations for an industry susceptible to transmission given the intimate nature of many procedures.
These range from make-up artistry, hair styling, facials… – services that involve personal contact.
What does this mean for that brow tint appointment you had scheduled? Worst case scenario is that your therapist will cancel or postpone.
You also have a duty of community care to cancel your appointment if you feel ill or symptomatic or may have been in contact with someone diagnosed.
Nonetheless, beauty industry leaders have been preparing for COVID-19.
For instance, The Body Studio Skincare, based in Montego Bay and Kingston, is requesting all clients who have travelled to China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain, Germany, or Japan within the last three weeks to reschedule any upcoming appointments as a precautionary measure.
China has been at the centre of the COVID-19 outbreak since the virus was first detected in November, and still has the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths, at 80,801, and 3,176 respectively.
Europe has become the new epicentre of the pandemic as cases in China slow and the deadly coronavirus runs through Italy and nearby countries, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.
Michelle Vernon, CEO of Body Studio Skincare
As such, Body Studio has asked clients feeling ill to use discretion and not expose others. The company is also moving to keep fewer clients within its space at a time.
“We will be adding more time to the duration of our services to allow for buffer time between one client exiting service and another entering service, Body Studio, owned by Michelle Vernon said in a notice to clients.
This will limit the likelihood of running into other clients in our studios and reduce the number of people in the waiting areas,” a release from the Body Studio Skincare added.
Some businesses that offer in-store make-up applications have now discontinued that service.
Fontana Pharmacy has suspended all cosmetic activities at its stores but make-up is still being sold in its beauty department.
“It’s not all about the money, your safety comes first,” warned popular destination wedding make-up artist Nicole Blake.
“Just say no until all this clears up… no amount of sanitization and sterilization can stop these viruses,” she ended on a talk piece via social media.
Head of D'Marie Institute Dawn Lindo’s mission at the time of the interview was enforcing the safeguard practices for students, staff, and visitors.
“Within 20-30 minutes bacteria reaches full growth and can be transferred from one client to another, or from therapist to client. So for services such as nails and make-up, yes I’m concerned, but in the hair department, not so much,” Lindo said.
She added: “Make-up artistry is a belly-to-belly business. It puts make-up artists in close contact with their clients. So, if a make-up artist is experiencing any signs of the disease, they should not be working.”
D'Marie Institute, operated by Lindo, is a cosmetics learning centre accredited by City & Guilds of London.
Head of D'Marie Institute Dawn Lindo
Last Tuesday, when news broke of the first imported case locally, The Face Place director, Marie Hall-Smith closed shop for staff training and development.
The following day staff members were armed with nitrile gloves, Lysol and other approved anti-viral disinfectants in efforts of reducing contamination of The Face Place.
The Face Place offers beauty, cosmetic, and personal care services which include, but are not limited to, massages, facials, mani-pedis, micro-needling, hair removal, paraffin treatments ― and every bit of these services involve skin-to-skin contact.
The Face Place director, Marie Hall-Smith
“Sanitisation, primarily in the cosmetic industry, is paramount,” Hall-Smith shared with Loop News.
The Face Place Salon has asked clients who have travelled to countries affected to reschedule their appointments, and introduced new protocols with staff wearing gloves.
As of Monday, March 16, Jamaica has confirmed 15 cases of coronavirus, according to the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic and deaths worldwide has risen to over 5,000.
Some personal care professionals feeling the pinch
It’s a brave new world. And local barbers in the personal care sector of the industry are feeling the pinch.
They say clients have been continually cancelling for safety reasons, or just not bothering to show up.
“I’m already feeling the impact. Mi know it ah come, especially because cutting someone’s hair is such a close contact profession, people are really afraid and with good reason too.”
The barber also reasoned that customers have now opted to put off grooming services and are instead using their disposable income for essentials like food and health.
“People ah spend their money on more urgent things like food and medicine right now,” the barber from the Portmore area told Loop News.
A local nail technician with a thriving business says that she regularly disinfect all high-touch areas, including workstations, product displays and hygiene stations, with a hospital-grade disinfectant.
“Things are tight, I haven’t had a client all week, but luckily, things have started to change a little as more clients traditionally come in on Friday so that hasn’t changed much,” she said.