nail salons toronto

What you need to know about the safety of nail salons in Toronto after recent outbreaks

As nail salons across Toronto carefully reopen their businesses after finally getting the greenlight from the government to enter Stage 2 of reopening, fears of a potential COVID-19 outbreak are looming across the nail care industry. 

Outbreaks at two nail salons in Kingston last week — likely courtesy of a gaggle of people from Toronto who couldn’t possibly wait to get their nails done — have now sparked fears of other potential outbreaks happening across the industry.

According to Urban Nails owner Kevin Nguyen, the outbreaks in Kingston have given everyone in the nail care industry a bad reputation. 

“If businesses aren’t following the proper guidelines there needs to be consequences otherwise the rest of us will be affected too,” he said. 

Nguyen’s salon has been open since last week and is much different than what it was like before the pandemic. 

Every station is now sanitized before and after each use and staff and customers are required to wear face masks.

They're also not using every other station in order to promote physical distancing and have placed signs everywhere reminding people to keep their distance. 

There's also no walk-in appointments and all customers are screened beforehand.

“The customer is watching us all right now because of what happened in Kingston.” Nguyen says. 

Jeff Armstrong, co-founder of Majesty’s Pleasure, suggest the incidents in Kingston are unfortunate, but he’s not surprised. He says he has walked past salons where estheticians and customers weren’t wearing any face masks at all. 

“Everyone needs to do their part if they don’t want their privileges to be taken away from them again.” he says. “Businesses have been closed for so long and the last thing we need are some bad apples not following necessary precautions.”

Although nail salons was given the green light to reopen last Wednesday, Armstrong says Majesty's Pleasure took the day to sanitize the space and on Thursday, he called in medical nurses to train their 89 staff members on how to appropriately wear and take off PPE.

The salon finally reopened on Friday.

They’ve also removed all phones so appointments are now being taken by a receptionist off-site.

Armstrong says his employees take note of where all customers are seated in the event of an outbreak. For customers afraid of coming back into the salon, they also offer nail care kits with all essential tools, polishes and tips to get the spa treatment at home.

The Ten Spot  founder Kristen Gale says she believes nail salons in Toronto have been strict in enforcing their safety policies. “Getting your nails done is not worth risking your getting sick over,” she says. 

Gale says that cleanliness and hygienic practices have been at the forefront of many nail salon businesses, including her own. “When I first started in the industry, I knew there was a problem with how rampant fungus and warts could spread.” she told blogTO. 

Since then, all The Ten Spot locations have been adhering to strict guidelines including making customers take health assessments before starting treatments.

Currently, all locations have stopped beverage services and staff have their temperatures checked before every shift. 

Mike Duong, owner of Organic Nail Bar, says hearing the news of the Kingston outbreaks was scary at first, but he believes his salon has taken all necessary precautions to prevent one.

He emphasizes one rule above all else — “no mask, no service,” he says.

Duong’s nail salon, like all others, is only operating at half capacity to limit the number of employees and customers in store. Stations are rigorously wiped and dividers are placed between staff and customers. 

“If everyone follows the government’s health and safety guidelines, there won’t be an outbreak in Toronto.” Duong says.

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns

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