Dog groomers in various states are now allowed to start seeing clients. Governors are reopening certain types of businesses in calculated geographical areas of their states. This lifting of closures is a welcome change for these small business owners as well as those that have shaggy dogs, badly in need of some grooming. But things are definitely different than they were before. Groomers must put extra precautions in place to protect themselves and their clients, human and canine alike.
A New Normal is Established
Bethany English, groomer and owner of Fluffy Puppy Salon in Indianapolis, has a full schedule, but with fewer clients than she normally sees on a given day. Why? Social distancing rules apply inside the grooming salon. She is calling this their “new normal.” Instead of three groomers at the shop she can only have two at a time. The space is not large enough to maintain CDC-recommended distances with three people working at a time.
She also installed a plastic shower curtain as a barrier between her clients and groomers when dogs are being dropped off. She told Fox59 while laughing, “It’s a classy shower curtain. It’s much different than the chatty atmosphere that we had before, and the connections that we made with our clients. We love our clients, and this is very different. It’s an actual separation from them.”
Changes in Procedures to Ensure Safety
There are other changes in procedure in place at Fluffy Puppy Salon. To avoid any human-to-human contact, all booking and fee transactions are being handled online. Due to the size of her space, only one client at a time is allowed to enter the salon for drop-offs and pick-ups. The client has to put their own dog into a sanitized kennel upon entering the shop.
The groomer then takes the dog from the kennel to a bath bay where they are washed. Before COVID-19, washing would be put off until the other services, like nail or hair trimming, were performed. Not anymore. Dogs are cleaned first due to the risk of the virus living on animal fur. English told FOX59, “Once [the dogs] are in there, we take them in the back, and give them a bath. None of the dogs are to be worked on without a bath. So, no walk-in services anymore.”
Appointment Schedules Getting Fully Booked
Many dog parents have taken to grooming their own dogs at home during the stay-at-home orders. Others didn’t dare take a pair of clippers to their pet’s coat. Those whose dogs have matted fur or long nails are flocking to salons with gratitude. Gavin Hardy of GG’s Pet Salon had just opened his salon in Phoenix, AZ before he was forced to temporarily shut the doors. The salon was a welcome addition to the local business scene and he was flooded with bookings right away.
Shutting the doors of his fledgling salon was a horrifying prospect and he is thrilled to be back in business. He started rebooking COVID-19-canceled appointments earlier this week and is being inundated with requests for new bookings from new and existing clients. He said, “After rescheduling everyone that previously had an appointment in April that had to be canceled, we are filling up this week but still have some weekend appointments available.”
By all accounts, we all have a long way to go before this pandemic is truly behind us. Seeing some small businesses re-open gives us renewed hope that we are heading in the right direction!