Should Aesthetic Businesses Close Or Stay Open? Two Practitioners Weigh In

“Close or stay open?” is the question on every practitioner’s mind today.

With the government announcing last night the closing of non-essential businesses such as cafes, restaurants (takeaway service only is allowed), and clubs as a result of further social distancing measures, aesthetic practitioners have been wondering if and when they should shut doors to their clinics, spas, and salons.

Owner of Kelly George Aesthetics, RN Kelly George has decided to keep her clinic open until she is told to do otherwise by the government. In an Instagram post she announced “KGA will remain open until further notice” saying “as of now, clinics have not been instructed to close. As such, KGA will remain open.”

She also offered her clients the option of bringing appointments forward seeing how rapidly the situation seems to be changing. Kelly stated her number one priority “is the safety of my team and my clients. Please do not come in if you have been unwell.”

Speaking exclusively to SPA+CLINIC earlier today, Kelly explained her decision is “based solely on the fact that these are the current guidelines handed down by the government. I am trusting in the process and the advice of the medical professionals directing the PM on who can and can’t be open at this time.”

Of course, her team and the consequences the closing of her clinic would have on their livelihoods also played part in Kelly’s decision.

“I’m in the same position as many clinic and salon owners in that we are are trying to balance the safety of our staff and clients with being able to continue to employ people. The reality of closure is job loss- something I’m trying very hard to avoid. I’m fortunate that I have the full support of my team. While I guide the direction of my clinic, we are making these decisions as a team.  I touch base with them every day to check on how they are feeling, even over the weekend as the news changes daily and their mental health is as important to me as their physical health.

I will close the clinic when advised to do so, or if my team and I decide it’s no longer in our best interest to remain open (which ever comes first!)”

Cosmetic Injector, Dr Jake Sloane sees things differently and announced in an Instagram post last night that he is “putting down his syringes.”

“I thought the decision would be made for me by the Australian Government but tonight it’s still unclear. Only pubs, nightclubs, restaurants, cafes, etc will definitely close from what I can interpret – but I can absolutely assure you that what I offer my patients is not essential. I’ve been very vocal about social distancing, reducing risk and did a podcast with a World Health Organisation expert to try and educate people. But it’s not been enough. Actions and not words will do. I cannot carry on anymore,” the post reads.

SPA+CLINIC spoke to Dr Jake Sloane this morning to see what sparked his decision.

“Whilst cosmetic services are clearly not essential, I continued to work because the government said we should work and our shops remained open. If you look around, it has been business as normal until today. My clinics took extreme precautions to try and protect both our staff and our patients. We minimised contact between people in the clinics, hand washing and clinic cleaning became obsessional and of course, PPE equipment was used. But clearly we cannot guarantee that we have reduced all the risks to zero and as a doctor, my first responsibility is ‘to do no harm’. And so I have decided to put down my syringes and am looking at how I can assist in the fight against COVID-19 at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, my old hospital,” Dr Sloane explained.

Of course, this decision was not made lightly as Dr Sloane is aware of the impact that closing a business has on staff and the economy.

“The brutal fact is that this crisis will affect every single industry and person in the world. We can’t escape it. If a clinic closes, there are numerous staff that will suffer including doctors, nurses, therapists, admin staff and more. Staying open to pay staff when you don’t have the custom (regardless of corona virus) would be difficult, but in the context of what is happening I think we need to be very black and white with business decisions because the foreseeable future will be very hard. I would strongly advise people in this situation to look at the new and evolving financial support schemes that are being announced by the government to help and hopefully this will reduce job losses and long term closures.”

“The brutal fact is that this crisis will affect every single industry and person in the world. We can’t escape it.”

While he would like to encourage everyone to stay at home, Dr Sloane understands businesses that are continuing to stay open and says he is not here to judge anyone.

“I have been speaking to countless clinic owners around the world, we speak every day and all day on whatsapp. They are just like any other business owner and are terrified of the consequences of closing, having no income and letting their staff go. I really can’t speak for anyone else, we all have our own personal circumstances and it would be wrong of me to judge what people do. But having looked at the situation around the world, it seems unclear why our governments didn’t make certain decisions earlier so that these tough choices were taken out of our hands. Asking a clinic to close earlier than legally required, whilst supporting 20+ staff and with the likelihood of many months closure is too difficult for one person to make. So I fully understand why many clinics remain open because people’s careers and houses are at stake.”

SPA+CLINIC acknowledges that the government is not advising businesses in our industry, such as spas, clinics, and salons to close at the time of this article being published, and it is therefore every business owner’s personal choice to stay open or not.

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