SA Spa Association Coronavirus (COVID-19) Press Release

Published 17 March

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) named COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) a global pandemic, which is defined as when a new virus (such as SARS-CoV-2, or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, which causes COVID-19/Coronavirus) for which people do not have immunity spreads beyond world expectations. While we already know social distancing and self-quarantine are our greatest chances at combatting the spread of the quickly evolving virus, we also know that for many, anxiety and loneliness are at an all-time high.

As an industry that prides itself on making clients look and feel their best but also comes into direct, close contact with the public, what can we do to make sure our clients feel at ease, our businesses don’t suffer, and most importantly, employees and guests alike remain healthy and safe?

Embrace Optimism as a Powerful Antidote to Preventable Disease, as quoted by Susie Ellis

Chair & CEO at Global Wellness Summit and Global Wellness Institute

“I think it’s important for the wellness industry to consider that this is also a time for hope and optimism. This is the exact moment to recognize that we have control over our health destinies. We don’t have to give in to fear. We simply need to commit to wellness in our own lives and the lives of those in our homes and communities

As wellness advocates, I want to encourage us to recommit to our shared belief that wellness and a strong immune system can help protect the world’s inhabitants from preventable disease and to recognize this is the ideal time to encourage family, friends and colleagues, to focus on building a strong immune system through exercise, healthy nutrition, stress reduction, smoking cessation and more.”

How the Spa Industry is Dealing with Coronavirus

For starters, follow your national guidelines: President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Sunday night, where he announced a national state of disaster in light of the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Here are few important points made at the briefing:


Poorer areas are more vulnerable

Mkhize explained that the reason why the state of disaster was triggered was to avoid an outbreak in poorer and more vulnerable areas. Ramaphosa announced that internal transmission of the coronavirus in the country had started, which meant positive cases were not only imported from outside of South Africa.


Universities & Schools need to suspend academic programmes

Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande said the department was encouraging institutions to suspend all contact lectures and limit contact between students.


Diversion of finances

Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni said a national disaster fund was available for situations like this. Should the need arise, certain government programmes will be reduced so funds can be shifted.


In your Spa

Your Spa has the option to remain open, with the below and guidelines and precautions. 

“Don’t be afraid,” says Denise Fuller, licensed esthetician and cofounder of the National Aesthetic Spa Network (NASNPRO.” Fuller suggests creating a checklist and having spa staff routinely disinfect the list of items throughout the day (while wearing single-use gloves each time) with an approved disinfectant. The list should include:

  • Front desk
  • Credit card machine, computer keyboards, phone, pens
  • Doorknobs and door handles—be sure to clean both sides so clients enter and exit touching a clean surface
  • Common area surfaces, racks, shelves
  • Bathroom, including the toilet flush handle
  • Equipment such as hot cabinets, steamers, magnifying lamps, inside nail dryers and drying lamps, the refrigerator, laundry machines, baskets, and garbage bins 
  • Bottles, including shampoo, hairspray, skincare, essential oils, massage creams, body exfoliants, and nail polishes, plus, clean shampoo bowls and disinfect the neck of the bowl after each client
  • Hair, wax, and nail stations
  • Aesthetic and massage rooms
  • Chairs and all seating areas
  •  Employee lockers and lunchroom

Some spa professionals argue that if you’ve been properly cleaning your spa all along, not much will have to change to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. You must be proactive with daily after-care cleaning services for your clients. If you maintain these standards, your deep cleaning routines will be easy.”


Other precautions:

  • Maintain at least 1 meter distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and encourage those around you to do the same.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance.
  • Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19.

Develop a plan for how to handle a health emergency including: 

  • Location of nearest medical facility. Identify a quarantine room/space in the event that it is needed.
  • Identify an emergency plan on how to handle a situation if a guest or employee tests positive for COVID-19.
  • Identify a communications/public relations plan on how to respond to a situation if a guest or employee tests positive for COVID-19.


It’s important to communicate to both your staff and clients alike about the precautions your spa is taking to prevent the spread of any wintertime illnesses, not only COVID-19.

Email blasts / social media / on arrival at the Spa / locker rooms / staff rooms -it is important your clients and staff know you are taking care around the Coronavirus outbreak, which may impact some in-store policies to in-office policies. Remember, communication is key in times of crisis.

Encourage clients to purchase on line, so maintaining their skincare regime.

Allow staff more flexible work times, in appreciation of educational institutes being closed. Set your staffs mind to at ease, let them know that their jobs are safe and that company will combat these challenges

Coronavirus is not the first crisis that the spa industry has endured. Clients were hesitant to visit during previous virus outbreaks, such as SARS and Avian Flu. After the 2008 financial crisis, luxury items such as spa treatments were often the first to be cut from a family’s budget. But the industry finds ways to navigate these disruptions and always comes out stronger for it. If there’s one thing that’s certain, the spa community will prevail.


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