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This is what it will be like to visit an Irish spa in phase four of lockdown

By Megan Cassidy

May 5, 2020 at 8:18pm

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Have you found yourself fantasising more and more about life after lockdown?

Readers are used to coming to Lovin to get inspiration for their next destination spa break - this is a community of spa junkies and some of our most popular articles have been those that list the very best in the country.

So we can venture a guess that if you're here - you're missing the joy of planning a spa break in the near future. In my opinion the best part of any spa trip is looking forward to it.

But the impact of spas and beauty salons closing across the country goes far beyond us missing our monthly pamper, of course.

In fact, the vast amount of the 25,000+ employees in the Irish Spa Association's remit have have joined the live register on the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

There are an estimated 4,000 Spas and Beauty Salons in Ireland - contributing to a sector that generates €540 million P/A to the Irish economy.

It's hard to imagine how a service which involves such intimate person-to-person contact will make a comeback from this.

Well, the Irish Spa Association has just published a guideline for spas on how to navigate this tricky time, and it unveils a lot about what we can expect to experience when we visit again.

‘’The need will remain, but the interface will change,’’ says Anita Murray, Co-Founder.

‘’Guests visiting the spa will expect autoclave-sterillised tools, medical linen sheets and towels, and surfaces that have been disinfected with hospital-grade solutions,’’ co-founder Peigin Crowley adds. “We will meet the new expectations of our guests and our communities while retaining our caring core of empathy and wellbeing.”

“When we reopen the doors, we’ve got to think about it from the client’s perspective. Patients may ask themselves, ‘Is this going to be a safe visit for me? And should I do it or should I wait?’

"Most importantly, we will have to fine tune our processes now so that when the doors reopen we are a well-oiled machine. We will have to look at the entire patient process, from sending emails, managing patient opt-ins and so on."

Members of the Irish Spa Association who are calling on the government to include spas and salons in all considerations

The association has also been actively hosting successful virtual webinars which have attracted a large international audience. The last sold out event which hosted Niamh O’ Connell the Vice President of Wellness for the Rosewood Group shared fascinating insights from Hong Kong and how we can adopt similar approaches to restart Ireland’s beauty, spa and wellness economy. With tickets almost selling out immediately, guests are invited to join the second event in the series May 7th 11am for an outline of ‘The Blueprint’ and a conversation around the ‘New Normal’ Registration for the call can be taken here.

The association has written to Minister Heather Humphreys and has called for a number of supports:

● Provision of financial support to enable the sourcing of PPE and also to make whatever other structural changes may be needed within the businesses.
● Assurance that the government will continue to support the COVID-19 wage subsidy scheme until the business is able to operate in a feasible and sustainable manner.
● Direct the Revenue Commissioners to introduce a moratorium on VAT payments; Introducing a reduction of the VAT rate from 13.5% to 9% for services to support the recovery thereafter.
● Direct the Department of Social Protection to halve the rate of Employer PRSI contributions.
● Support an interest-free holiday freeze on all loan repayments for those whose earnings have stalled.
● Suspension of commercial mortgages, rents and rates to ensure liquidity for businesses.
● Funded grants to ensure liquidity of companies.

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