Victorian Clinics On Coping With The Second Lockdown

We asked clinic owners Andrea Moss, Gry Tømte, and Leelah Linke how they are doing after shutting their doors once again.

With COVID-19 cases rising across the state, the Victorian Government placed Victoria in what has been dubbed as lockdown 2.0. Restrictions are imposed on hotspot postcodes forcing several clinics to shut their doors for the second time this year.

SPA+CLINIC spoke with several Victorian clinics to find out how they are coping with what must feel like déjà vu. Surprisingly, spirits are high, considering the tenuous circumstances.

“Within our unit at work, we are great,” CEO and founder of Liberty Belle Skin Centre and Liberty Belle Rx Andrea Moss said.

Liberty Belle Skin Centre has remained shut since last week and will remain closed for the following six weeks. Plastic surgery will run until restrictions are placed on elective surgery, which Moss forecasts will be sooner rather than later. In the meantime, clinicians are busy conducting virtual consultations to keep up with the soaring demand.

“I think the stats we had was that Face Lift enquiries had gone up 300 per cent and Rhinoplasty enquiries had gone up 400 per cent,” Moss said.

Gry Tømte, the owner of HÜD Skin + Body, is also experiencing unseen demand for her services and is only open for retail.

“It’s just been mayhem. Ever since the first lockdown started, we were inundated with phone calls and messages, and the logistics of that was challenging,” Tømte said.

HÜD Skin + Body stocks internet protected brand DMK which cannot be sold without a consultation. The clinic is holding Zoom consultations to ensure their clients are receiving the skincare they need to see them through the lockdown period. Unlike several other clinics in the area, Tømte is not offering free or fully redeemable consultations for new clients on the principle of fairness.

“Everybody struggles during these times, so it just did not seem fair to open the door to retail to clients who may belong to other clinics,” Tømte adds.

Everybody struggles during these times, so it just did not seem fair to open the door to retail to clients who may belong to other clinics.

St Skin shut its doors earlier this year after the inner-city clinic became a ghost town once the clientele from surrounding offices began to work from home, says founder Leelah Linke.

“The energy was off, and I was concerned about bringing my staff into work with many of them catching public transport,” Linke said.

With an expiring lease, Linke decided to move the clinic to North Melbourne, only to be shut down a few weeks later due to rising cases of COVID-19 in the suburb. The lockdown was immediate, and Linke now has her staff working remotely.

An underlying concern among clinics is the wellbeing of staff. St Skin, Liberty Belle Skin Centre and HÜD Skin + Body have kept all their staff employed and paid throughout the pandemic. Daily Zoom meetings are the new normal to remain connected, and this communication often extends beyond the clinic.

“I speak to clinic owners all the time, and it’s great we can support each other by sending a meme to brighten someone’s day or to troubleshoot a problem,” Tømte said.

Something that has remained mostly unchanged is the level of hygiene within clinics, which were at high standards before the pandemic hit.

“We have always been very strict with cleaning because of our area of work. Our sterile techniques and hand hygiene are on point, as all of our girls have studied dermal science,” Linke explains.

Mask wearing is mandatory in Melbourne.

Liberty Belle introduced new protocols for patients who visited the clinic before the lockdown restarted. Patients wait in their car and then are called into the clinic for their appointment. They are asked to use hand sanitiser, and their temperature is checked. The room is sanitised after the appointment. Liberty Belle Skin Centre requires staff to wear a mask during work, and this protocol now extends to whenever they go in public.

“If you walk outside your house, you are to wear a mask,” Moss said.

“We do not want to put anyone at risk. We come into this industry wanting to help people. It’s not in our nature to be reckless,” Linke adds, who also introduced staggered appointment times before the second lockdown hit.

As for the next six weeks, the three clinics are taking things day by day.

“It’s stressful, but we are also learning so much, and I feel like we have got a second chance to hone in on the things we didn’t get to do last time,” Tømte said.

“It’s exhausting, but we got this,” Linke finishes.

Yes, Victoria. You do.

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