On Saturday 31st October 2020, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England would be entering a Tier 4 lockdown from Thursday 5th November until Wednesday 2nd December.
This means all ‘non-essential’ businesses must shut down their physical premises and mobile services for the duration.
So what does this mean for aesthetics practitioners and cosmetic dermatology clinics? Here is the Harley Academy guide to getting your practice ready for lockdown.
1 Prepare to close your business from Thursday 5th November
As per the government’s statement of 31st October 2020: “To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. These include… personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons.”
Whilst many medical practitioners – doctors, dentists and nurses – consider themselves to work under a “medical model”, we do have to question our responsibilities socially, in terms of reducing the spread of the virus and its many implications, including the burden on the NHS.
Whilst government guidance does allow some people to work from home, this does not apply to any situation which involves seeing people for non-urgent treatments.
The only caveat is where there is a genuine risk to someone’s physical or mental health if a particular medical procedure is not performed. In the vast majority of cases, this is unlikely to apply to practices in the elective, non-urgent aesthetics sector.
The Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) advises, “The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global threat and those working in the non-surgical cosmetic sector must adhere to guidance from government organisations… The JCCP believes that there should be no compromise in safety for financial gain… a full return to ‘unrestricted’ business can only officially and legitimately resume when the Government Administrations in the four UK nations advises that is legally safe to do so. The JCCP supports this position and does not support the unrestricted resumption of practice during the ‘second wave’ forthcoming Government-imposed lockdown.”
2 Contact all your patients who were booked in for the lockdown period ASAP
During the lockdown we suggest not seeing or treating patients on an in-person basis. As such, you should contact all patients you had booked in over the lockdown period as soon as possible to reschedule.
3 Ensure any patients you see before lockdown starts have an emergency contact number in case they experience complications from or have concerns about their treatments
You may continue to see patients and offer treatments until the end of Wednesday 4th November. Others may choose not to see any new patients prior to lockdown as there may be an added risk of complications.
4 Look at ways to pivot your business during lockdown
You may wish to offer patients, or prospective patients, an online consultation during lockdown. You can charge for this consultation service and use this fee against treatments when you reopen. After a consultation they can pay up-front for a post-lockdown treatment, or purchase a gift voucher from you. This is especially pertinent with Christmas coming up.
You may also recommend skincare products to them which they can purchase from you or other retailers. You may send them their products, however, postal delays are likely so you may want to warn them about this in advance.
Another option is to use the lockdown time to learn new skills and techniques to expand your range of services. Harley Academy now offers a number of up-to-date, scientific aesthetics courses online. You can begin eLearning courses in injectables such as Botox and dermal fillers, chemical peels and dermaplaning, from home. Then, when lockdown is over, additional hands-on training and 1:1 tuition can be completed in order to obtain your certification.
Investing in your future in this way may prove especially useful for the expected rise in demand for post-lockdown “tweakments” due to the “Zoom Face” phenomenon.
Level 7 students also have access to the Harley Academy Aesthetics Community, so you can network online with other engaged and supportive peers.
You may wish to use this time to work on promoting your business, learning new business management skills and working on public relations. Sorting out your website and social media channels is also worthwhile – and potentially profitable – activities. Use these to educate your aesthetics patients, keeping them engaged and eager for your return.
5 What happens if you are unable to work at all during lockdown?
The government expands on the financial assistance available and its extended furlough scheme on the gov.uk website announcement page.
There are also a number of charitable institutions which may be able to help those experiencing hardship due to the pandemic.
Clearly this is a difficult time for everyone but there are options out there that can help our community to utilise this enforced downtime to plan for their future.
Although Harley Academy’s teaching clinic will be closed during the lockdown, we are happy to answer any queries about our courses throughout this period, and look forward to seeing you in-person on the other side.