Medical Spas: Open for Business

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Medical spas have reopened with plenty of precautions and changes. Depending upon the type of treatments offered, area spas have been reopening over the summer as permitted — and as they are able to adjust how they do business to comply with state regulations.

A few area medical spas weighed in on how things are going at their locations.

Laurianne Griffis, spa manager at Advanced Aesthetics Medical Spa in Williamsville, said that the spa follows all the New York state COVID-19 guidelines, such as not permitting walk-in clients.

“We’re back up and running and almost to the level of patients we had before,” Griffis said. “It was a long time waiting to reopen. Clients are coming back, though some are leery. They read the news and it’s spiking here and there.”

For about seven months, the spa was limited on the services offered. As of September, Advanced Aesthetics began offering all its services.

When you visit a spa next, expect to make an appointment. Do not assume you can get an appointment at the same time as a friend; many spas are staggering appointments to allow fewer in the facility at a time and to permit enough time to disinfect surfaces. The staff will ask a few questions about your health and if you have traveled recently.

You will likely have your temperature taken upon arrival, use hand sanitizer and answer a few more questions. Do not bring anyone else with you. If the waiting area is open, the décor will likely be different than before with social distancing markers on the floor, Plexiglas shielding the receptionist and, so it is easier to keep the area clean, fewer soft surfaces. Like many other businesses, it is likely high-touch amenities like beverage centers will be gone. Testers are also a thing of the past. Electronic payments are preferred.

The staff and providers will be wearing masks and you should, too. If your service requires you to remove your mask, remove it when asked. Your provider will likely wear a face shield or goggles and gown.

The service area will likely look different, too. Some spas may not offer the same services as before the pandemic.

At Advanced Aesthetics, patients do not interact with each other or with staff members unless they are directly providing services.  “We take payments from that room so they’re not coming out to a main area to pay for their services,” Griffis said.

At Bel Viso Skin Studio in Williamsville, owner Marie Regan said that in addition to the spa’s already rigorous sanitation practices, she ensures compliance to CDC guidelines.

“We aren’t seeing clients who have traveled outside of New York in the past two weeks,” Regan said. “We have hand sanitizer all throughout our treatment rooms and front desk. All clients wash their hands before treatment. We’re adhering to all the guidelines. We had to change the waiting room so people are six feet apart. We see only one to two people at a time now.”

After being closed from March 13 to mid-June, the spa reopened to offer only work on lashes and eyebrows. Since mid-September, the rest of the services have been available. Business has been good for Regan.

“People are coming back,” she said. “I feel like there’s an insatiable need we meet for people.”

In addition to treating troubling issues like acne, the spa meets emotional needs for many clients.

“People are craving human interaction,” Regan said. “I have clients who were coming every six weeks who are now coming every four weeks for some mental wellness.

“They’re very grateful for the additional precautions they see. Our clients in the beginning laughed because they knew we’re fanatical about sanitation. Every year we send out a message to not come to the spa if they’re not feeling well. They find comfort in that that we’re very careful about what needs to be touched.”

The smallest touchpoints are not exempt to cleaning, such as the spa’s iPad, which is cleaned between each use and customers’ own credit cards, which get a wipe with rubbing alcohol before they are returned.

“People are really ready to get back to normal,” Regan said.