Well it certainly has been an interesting couple of months with the threat of Covid-19 forcing many businesses to close their doors. If you are like us, without a job that is considered essential, you have likely been spending the last couple of months binge watching TV, trying to keep a positive frame of mind with tales of what the world will be like when everything is “normal” again, and hopefully accomplishing some of those task list items you normally don’t have time to get around to. Well the new temporary normal has arrived, at least according to our state government. The state of Ohio has declared that personal beauty services like hair salons, massage parlors and tattoo studios are free to reopen Friday, May 15th as long as they meet certain conditions. We think it is very important to mention that this virus is NOT beaten yet. There is not a cure and there is no vaccine.
Every time you go to the post office, step foot inside a grocery store or any other thing out in public you are putting yourself and those you interact with regularly at risk. The more you do these items, the more people you potentially have contact with and the longer amount of time you spend interacting with them, the higher your risk of contracting this virus or spreading it to someone else you care about. This is very important to remember as we cheerfully welcome the return of our ability to emerge from our shelters. The inner drive to spark conversation and return to social norms will be high for many, despite the potential risk it brings. And there are those who would have you believe there is no risk to us at all, some we have seen still denying even as their family gets ill from the virus. It’s not my purpose to upset you or to deter any uplifting feeling you have about the reopening of our society, it is just important to me that we all keep the severity of our situation in clear focus and not take unnecessary risks. It is the best way we can honor those who have already passed from this horrible virus, by remembering that we have a responsibility to the society we long so much to return to and by making sure those lost lives aren’t just forgotten or cast aside for the temptation of a latte and laughs.
With that in mind we are also not in a position to ignore the appointment requests we have been receiving. We can’t financially justify it, and we cannot morally justify allowing only studios with less scruples and less safe working protocols to be your only option. We know that body art is good for the soul, and some of us need that right now. We have created a set of operating protocol based on all of the scientific and medical information we have received, as well as guidelines and suggestions from the health department, the CDC and WHO, the Association of Professional Piercers and the Body Art Education Alliance that we feel minimizes the risks of opening our business at this time. While some risk does still remain we are willing to accept these risks based on current information, but ONLY if the guidelines we set forth are followed to a tee. Should you decide to receive body art at this time you too are accepting risk and you should make sure your provider has a logical plan in place. No piercer or tattoo artist should be taking this virus lightly and still working at this time, that just leaves too much room for corner cutting and mistakes that may increase the risk for client AND staff. With that said, we will break down the state guidelines item by item and illustrate how we plan to meet or exceed those requirements in an attempt to keep everyone safe.
- The State of Ohio has stated it is MANDATORY that all employees maintain six feet between each other during their work duties and all customers maintain a six foot distancing between each other. If this is not possible, barriers must be installed to keep work areas separate. The only people that are allowed to be less than six feet of each other are the staff member performing the service and the client receiving the service. Imagine a barbershop or hair salon. Can you picture the mirrors and stations and salon chairs with just a foot or two between them? The state is saying the these salons will have to only use every other station, or else build walls or plexiglass barriers between each and every station. At Adohi we plan to meet or exceed this issue on two fronts. First all of our procedures happen in separate rooms. Each room is divided by full length walls and doors, just like the bedrooms in your average house. Clients will wait in their vehicles until instructed by text message to enter, then they will be ushered straight to the procedure room from the front door and will not interact with any other employee or client at the studio. Secondly clients are also not allowed to bring any friends or companions with them during their appointment, with the only exception being licensed caretakers and legal guardians of minors. In the case of a minor requiring a parent to be present, only one parent is allowed in. Any companions or friends that wish to attend the procedure must do so by video call using technology. We will allow FaceTime, and other video calling services during the procedure as long as they do not pose a risk or become a hindrance. By implementing these changes clients do not have contact with each other, staff does not have contact with each other so the six foot distancing has been exceeded except for the legal and unavoidable distancing between piercer/tattoo artist and the client receiving the service.
- It is MANDATORY to allow customers and force staff to wear facial coverings. This is a right that cannot be taken away from you in a body art setting. At Adohi we not only will allow you to wear facial coverings, but we will even provide them. We have face masks for every client with an appointment, should our supply chain run out we will stop accepting appointments. Now these masks we have are not fool proof, there is still a risk involved even wearing our masks and for this reason if you feel you have a superior face covering, we will not prevent you from wearing it. I went to a medical facility for a meeting during this pandemic and when I checked into the hospital they forced me to wear their exam mask despite the fact that I had arrived in a brand new N95 face mask of my own. Personally I felt like the hospital was forcing me to accept a greater risk by using a potentially less effective mask just so they knew for sure the source and newness of the mask being worn by every person in the facility. We will not do this to you. We do not claim to be able to rate the effectiveness of any facial covering or distinguish between options. But we do REQUIRE you to have your mouth AND nose covered the entire time you are in our facility. This is non-negotiable and we will gladly supply you with a disposable exam mask. This exceeds the state mandate. In addition to your mask, our practitioners will also be wearing exam masks AND face shields. This virus seems to be spread through micro droplets in the air. Sneezing, coughing and even talking excitedly fills the air in the room with moist particles from inside our bodies. These particles have the ability to travel throughout a room and linger for a long time if the conditions are right. Face masks help confine them to the person they came from as well as potentially filtering particles in the air from entering someone else. Contrary to earlier articles and reports published in March, this is actually a VERY IMPORTANT step to follow.
- Employees must perform a daily health assessment. This means nobody on staff can be working if they have Covid symptoms, if they are in a situation that puts them in a higher risk (like living with or caring for someone who has contracted the virus), or if they currently have a fever. Our staff will have their temperature taken routinely before each client with a contactless thermometer. They will also answer a health questionnaire at the start of each shift. This information will be kept confidential from clients and other staff except for the manager on duty. Clients will also have their temperature taken before entry with a contactless thermometer and answer some brief health questions. These questions will be confidential and only seen by the staff member performing their service and the health department if requested. Any staff member or client that shows symptoms of illness, fever or is likely to have a Covid-19 infection will not be allowed to remain at the studio and will be advised to seek a Covid-19 testing and treatment facility. This exceeds the state mandate.
- Employees and guests are required to stay home if symptomatic. No one will be allowed inside the facility if they are symptomatic. This meets or exceeds state mandate.
- Only clients receiving a service are allowed in the facility, and their caregivers. This is a health department rule. We had written our policy to include this anyway, but any studio allowing friends to visit is breaking the mandatory health department rules for reopening. We meet this mandate and will gladly enforce it at our studio.
- It is required to stagger entry for customers and guests. By closing our lobby, not allowing walk-ins and staggering appointments in our calendar, client entries are already staggered without even knowing it. This meets state mandate.
- It is mandatory to require regular hand washing by employees. This is something that every body art facility should have been doing since the day they opened. We require hand washing at the start and end of every procedure as well as after using the restroom, before and after consuming food (which will no longer be allowed on site) at various other times throughout the day. The state also requires that hand sanitizer is available in high contact areas. We will be supplying clients with sanitizer wipes as they enter the facility and limiting them to procedure rooms only. We have touch free hand sanitizer dispensers wall mounted in our procedure rooms as well as hand washing sinks with instructional signage for proper hand washing for service providers as well as clients. The major concern here is that droplets from an infected person who has coughed into their hand, or rubbed their mouth or nose may exist for long periods of time on surface and door handles. If you touch these surfaces and then rub your eye or eat without washing your hands you can transmit this disease into your body and become infected. Washing hands properly and using hand sanitizer when hand washing is not feasible is a very important line of defense in stopping the spread of this virus. Mandatory sanitizing and hand washing meets the requirement for staff and exceeds the requirement for clients.
- It is required to disinfect commonly touched items. Every procedure room will be completely disinfected after each client including wiping surfaces with a medical grade hard surface disinfectant and mopping the floors after every single client with an approved floor disinfectant. Our point of sale system has plastic barrier sleeves that will be changed after each client leaves, the system itself will also be wiped clean with a hard surface disinfectant wipe. Items that require client contact like hand mirrors have been removed from procedure rooms, only wall mounted touch-free mirrors are to be used or a client can take a selfie with their own phone to help decide on placement. The client will be led into the procedure room and instructed where to sit and not to touch anything else in the room. Clients requiring a parent present because of age will also be instructed where their parent should sit. As explained in a previous point, infected droplets from the mouth may reside on hands from the touching of door knobs and counter tops, in addition droplets may fall to these surfaces from a sneeze and then be picked up by unsuspecting clean hands. Regularly disinfecting all surfaces helps kill the virus before it can be spread, not touching surfaces helps break the chain of infection transmission. This is something we already did on a regular basis but now we are stepping up the frequency as well as the amount of detail put into the surface disinfection and mopping. Our staff will also open all doors so that clients do not need to touch knobs. It is also required that chairs and equipment are cleaned between uses. The only chair not in the procedure area that will be used is at the point of sale system and it will also be cleaned with a hard surface disinfectant after each client just like the point of sale system and credit card reader. This exceeds state mandate.
- It is required that staff wear and dispose of gloves for each procedure. Again this is something every studio should already be doing multiple times per procedure. Adohi is one of the few studios that actually uses sterile gloves for piercings like you might see during a surgery. We still do disinfection and marking with non sterile exam gloves like every other studio, but the piercers change to sterile surgical gloves at the point of the actual piercing and when they are using critical items from the sterilizer. Most other studios spare the expense of these more costly gloves, choosing to handle sterile implements with non sterile boxed gloves. This exceeds state mandate.
- It is required that we dispose of single use materials between clients. We have always done this. In fact Adohi is one of the very few fully disposable studios in the state. All items we use for a procedure either leave with the client (jewelry) or are disposed of immediately after use, we do not reprocess any tools or materials. We have medical sharps disposal boxes for contaminated biohazard waste, which is disposed of by a licensed facility that specializes in biohazard waste. We also have regular waste removal for all non-critical items through a professional solid waste removal company. This meets or exceeds state mandate.
- Studios must maintain accurate appointment records including the date and time of the service, the client’s name and their contact information to assist the health department in contact tracing. All of this information is already kept on our release of liability waiver and is easily searchable should the health department need it. This meets state mandate.
- It is required that magazines and items that cannot be disinfected are discarded. We have already removed these items as part of our lobby closure and in an effort to make the usable spaces easier to manage with cleaning and disinfection. We meet this mandate.
- Studios must continue to follow all guidelines required by statute for the operation of their business within their industry. We have always strived to exceed the minimum safety guidelines at Adohi and we do not foresee changing that now, willfully or not. Our studio is fully disposable to mitigate added risk that reprocessing tools brings. Our studio uses advanced active air removal autoclave sterilizers when on-site sterilization is required, this is far superior to the Type N gravity displacement autoclaves most studios use. Our studio incorporates sterile gloves and face shields when they are not requirements. We exceed this mandate.
- It is required that we contact the health department about suspected cases or Covid-19 exposure. We will comply with this. If you think you have Covid-19 do not come to our studio. We have to direct you to a testing facility but also report you to the health department in an attempt to limit potential disease spread and to make sure you receive necessary medical care. The best way to not be put in that position is to just avoid our studio if you have any reason to believe you are currently infected with Covid-19. If a staff member develops symptoms while at work, we will immediately isolate them and discontinue services for the day. They will receive medical care while the business is closed and deeply sanitized before reopening. That is our responsibility to you and we take it seriously. We meet this mandate.
As you can see there is a lot of care and consideration being put into reducing all of our risk of acquiring Covid-19 during this reopening. This increase in protective equipment, the recent price hikes on such equipment, and the forced reduction in business revenue needed for added sanitation times and distancing measures do not come without a price. Until product supplies have returned to a normal availability and cost, and until we have a better idea of the affects these measures will have on the sustainability of our business, there will be some needed increases in fees. We are implementing an additional $20 set up fee on top of our normal pricing structure to help offset these changes. We felt this was more fair than a percentage based increase that would punish those with longer tattoo appointments or getting multiple procedures when the expense on our level is the same across the board for each individual client. This added fee will also be easy to do away with once it is no longer needed, instead of adjusting fees in our computer system for every item every time there is a change. We thank you in advance for understanding and gladly welcome any questions you have. We do have some additional protocol changes not listed here including ventilation measures, but every appointment will receive a step by step instruction email that will explain how the new system works. If you would like to make an appointment or find out more information the best thing you can do is text us at our phone number (614-767-5003) as our online booking calendar will not be properly updated for some time. Text messages get the fastest response from us and the most direct attention. Thanks again, we look forward to serving you soon.
Adohi Body Art