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The owner of the Blue Water Day Spa at Heavenly Village says a lot will change.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

In what sounds like ancient history but was actually only seven weeks ago, a visit to a spa or salon meant a lot: a garnish to brighten up your look; a visit with old friends; a break from the pressures of the world for a small dose of care.

Prepare to have a very different experience when they reopen.

“A lot of times we used to have 10 women at a wedding party to get services together,” said Kimberly McMaster, co-owner of Blue Water Day Spa. “It can’t happen anymore. Customers won’t congregate at all, whether they’re waiting their turn for a meeting or waiting for the polish to dry. All the chairs in the living room have been removed.



“Everyone’s temperature will be taken on arrival and everyone will wear a mask,” she added. “Customers who receive a facial will wear a helmet specially designed to protect them and the person giving them a facial. Certain treatments, such as hair removal, will probably no longer be on the menu. There are a lot of different things that can happen with waxing, with cross contamination.

A 15-minute break between massaged clients was the norm to give staff time to change sheets and sanitize hard surfaces.



“Now we’ve extended that to 30 minutes to do a deep clean,” McMaster said. “Before, the pump (for the massage lotion bottle) was disinfected because there was a slight possibility of cross-contamination (when the masseuse’s hands went from the pump to the skin). Now, one-cup disposable portions will be used for each person, so there is no possibility of cross-contamination. “

Not only will the health of the planet suffer from the massive amounts of single-use containers that they and other businesses use, as will their bottom line.

“Right now we go above and beyond what they demand, we always have,” said McMaster.

The more chairs and massage tables are left empty, and the more they have to spend on disinfection, the less income they will receive.

“Our income will be reduced, on average by 75%,” she predicted.

Even that could be optimistic if customers are reluctant to return.

“I sneezed the other day at the grocery store. I was wearing a mask, but someone lost their mind, ”McMaster said.

Many people are afraid, and likely will be, until effective treatments for Covid-19 and a vaccine are developed. This applies to customers and staff alike, she added.

All 11 Blue Water Day Spa employees (and 11 Napa Blue Water Day Spa) have been made redundant and are receiving unemployment benefits. But like anyone on benefits, if offered and refused their job, they could lose those benefits, she said.

“We are all waiting for phase 3 (which would allow them to reopen) but also until our employees feel comfortable,” she said.

Even with new security guidelines in place, there is the risk that not all salons will follow them, and an even greater risk that the police will not be adequate, said Sherry Hawks, who does nails in the area. from Lake Tahoe since 1992, for five years in a private room that she rents at Sessions Salon.

“I have had a surprise general inspection (by the California State Board of Cosmetology) at least once a year for the past five years,” she said.

The investigator checked his license, labeling, trash and other aspects of his operation. Is this sufficient to protect the public health of less careful operators in this new environment, she wonders?

“I’ll do whatever I have to do,” said Hawks, who used to see 50 to 60 clients a week. “I have always been very clean. I’m just concerned about people who aren’t clean. I have two children; one in college. I have supported them both during this time, ”although his earnings evaporated on March 20. Nonetheless, she said: “I’m a little nervous about going back. I want to make sure everyone is safe and everyone is playing by the rules. I don’t want to open too early; I want to wait and see.

Dr Barry Triestman, a private practice chiropractor in Truckee, closed his office for three weeks until he felt he was taking all necessary steps to keep himself and his clients safe. Even now, however, he is keenly aware of the balance he is performing. This is one of the reasons he only saw six patients last week, dropping from 35 to 40 a week before the pandemic.

“I have had several elderly people that I have not seen (since the reopening) because there are too many risks involved – especially if they are in pain, but are still able to move,” he said. he declares. “But if you are in too much pain and cannot move, it will affect your immune system.”

The State of California requires chiropractors to complete 24 hours of continuing education per year; last year, much of the course was in ethics, Triestman said.

“During the (early days) of the AIDS epidemic, there were a lot of classes on the immune system,” he said. “I would be very surprised if this year (the state) did not impose COVID-19 related courses.”

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