By Josephine Agbonkhese
While spa businesses look forward to reopening as the lockdown is gradually eased, Linda Edozien, MD/CEO, Barazahi, a spa/wellness outfit, speaks on measures that must be put in place by operators in the sector, if the spread of the coronavirus must be curbed.
How has COVID-19 affected spa businesses?
At present, spas are yet to be given approval by the Lagos State Government to open. This has meant that our businesses have earned no income in three months. It has been left to us individually to help provide for our workers. At Barazahi, we have spent our time putting in place safety measures as well as training online so that we can serve better once we open.
Everyone is digitalising their business; is such possible for spa businesses?
The spa business is a hands-on business; so, this is not possible. All we can do is make sure we carry out our services in the safest way possible. Of course, it will be possible to sell our skincare range online; which is something we are looking into.
As we ease the lockdown gradually, what measures must businesses such as yours put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus?
First of all, cleanliness must start at the gate! Provision must be made for clients to wash their hands. Temperature checks must be done at entry. This is important for both staff and clients. Sanitisers must be provided, as well as regular disinfecting of surfaces and tools.
Masks have to be a must for clients. Staff should be in Personal Protective Equipments, PPE, which should be changed after each client. Encouraging bookings by appointment will also reduce the customers on the premises at any given time to adhere to social distancing. Cashless payments should also be encouraged.
What is the fate of the spa industry in general, considering the impact of COVID-19? Will it be one of those industries that can be predicted to go extinct by 2021?
I think clients will be choosier about which spas they go to. Doing your hair or manicures yourself is not quite the same as going to the salon. Many see going to a spa as a getaway from stress. So, even though you could get someone to do a scrub for you at home, you don’t get the same ambience or professionalism. From the number of clients calling us and waiting for us to open, I think there is still a huge market for our services. Many see our services as essential to their wellbeing.
…what revolution is urgently needed in the sector at present?
I think one of the main aspects that need change is in the products in use at many beauty clinics. Anyone can just mix cream with dangerous ingredients and use or sell it to clients. I think there has to be more regulation in spa businesses and this is already happening.
On our part at Barazahi, we will always strive to maintain and constantly improve our standard of service and products so that we remain on an international level. Stress is a major part of life in this country and I know that just like hospitals, we also play a part in saving lives by giving people an escape to relax and unwind, thereby living better and longer!
During this downtime for example, we have tried to remain positive and improve to be able to improve lives. All our therapists have been undergoing zoom training, including training by Biologique Recherche, Paris. Of course, we have spent the time also learning how to operate in these unprecedented times. It’s a whole new culture.