Are Grooming Salons Essential Businesses?



As business owners from all industries find every loophole in the book to keep their brick-and-mortar stores afloat, groomers are faced with a similar dilemma. Though pet retail was deemed an essential businesses and permitted to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic, independent grooming salons were not.  


The thing is, its gray area—pet retailers that already have a grooming salon in-house are at the obvious advantage, as their salons are more or less shoehorned in. The argument for keeping independent salons open is that certain dog breeds require grooming to stay healthy, just as humans need to employ good hygiene practices for their own well being. Additionally, regular grooming can stop the spread of foreign bacteria coming into homes. 


The biggest issue stems from the fact that even though pets aren’t carriers for the novel coronavirus, their handlers are. As the grooming process has a moderate amount of contact between groomers and pet owners, it’s easy to see why grooming salons didn’t make the cut. However, there are solutions to avoid human-to-human interaction.


Dropping a dog off for a groom can be a non-contact event. Groomers can take a page out of the veterinarian’s handbook and practice curbside drop-off and pick-up services, complete with a leash switch. With all of the software that’s available (and the good ole’ fashioned phone), groomers can easily avoid face-to-face contact and still maintain an open line of communication with their clients.


Unfortunately, when it comes to deciding the fate of grooming salons, at least in the short term, the pet industry isn’t making the call—it’s up to federal, state and local governments. But that doesn't mean the industry cannot have a voice in shaping the policies that will ultimately impact our businesses for better or worse. With that in mind, it would be wise to start reaching out to representatives and regulators—if you haven't already—using the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council as valuable resource to help you increase the impact of your message. 


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