Can I go back to the beauty salon if they have passed the BARBICIDE® COVID-19 Certification Course?

I am one of the millions of women who's stuck at home with naked nails, overgrown brows and horrifying roots. It's annoying, and we all want to get back to the salon pronto.  

I have seen lots of beauty professionals including nail techs, lash and brow techs and hairdressers proudly sharing their Barbicide COVID-19 certificate, in some instances alongside some ambiguous "Ladies, I'm ready for you!" message. I am not suggesting that they are being deliberately misleading, but the inference is (from some of the posts I've seen from beauty professionals sharing their recent certification) that the free course from Barbicide sufficiently equips them to resume their services. 

Note: I am not a beauty professional, I'm just a woman who's eager to get back to my nail tech, but I have some questions about the certificate I'm seeing floating around. I'm not claiming to be an expert, but my cynicism has led to me doing some research about the Barbicide COVID-19 Certification. But these are, ultimately, just my opinions. 
What is the Barbicide COVID-19 Certification Course? 
Barbicide is a manufacturer of disinfectant that is made for the beauty industry, specifically for use in salons, but as I understand it, it is also used by independent technicians. As an industry leader, Barbicide have created a free online course - which Barbicide describe as taking less than an hour to complete - to provide beauty professionals with an updated education on salon hygiene, in conjunction with social distancing measures, in light of the coronavirus pandemic. It's good that they have provided go-to information so that there is some consistency across the beauty industry. 

Who is the course aimed at? 
The course is aimed at beauty industry professionals in America. Barbicide has "official documentation from the United States Environmental Protection Agency that its sanitising products were approved of efficacy against COVID-19." At present, the UK government hasn't endorsed any particular brand of disinfectant - but only refers to "household disinfectant" and "disinfectant solution" - in it's COVID-19 Cleaning in Non-healthare Settings Guidance. The course isn't mandatory, and it is not recognised by UK government. 
Above: screenshot from the Barbicide course. 
What information does the course cover? 
The course covers the basics of COVID-19 and, to be honest, only covers what we're all watching on the news every day. It outlines the basics like PPE, and that the virus is spread by respiratory droplets, surfaces and via person-to-person, and who is at a higher risk of serious illness if infected (i.e over 65s, underlying health conditions etc.) It doesn't really include new information specific to the beauty industry, but tailors what we already know to salon context like instructing to 'frequently disinfect nail drying stations' and 'shampoo bowls'. Arguably these are common sense principles that beauty professionals were probably already doing to some extent pre-coronavirus. (This sentiment was expressed by a couple of beauty professionals I have spoken to.) In addition, the course reiterates the necessary contact time for effective disinfection using Barbicide products. Because the course was published by the manufacturer, I can't help but feel the bottom line is "use our products". 

How do beauty professionals attain the certificate?
There are a few slides to go through with the information on followed by 10 multiple choice questions. The entire course took me a total of 13 minutes. The questions directly correlate to the previous slides, mostly verbatim so the test is almost in a 'finish the quote' format. However, once the test has been started, you couldn't go back to refer to the slides. The questions were, in my opinion - even as someone who isn't a beauty professional and has never received any training or formal schooling on hygienic salon practices - incredibly easy. For example, one question which asked about how to greet clients had an answer option for "fist pump" (?!) and a potential answer for a question about wearing face masks was, "masks make me look professional"... My point is: they weren't complicated questions that required any thought.
Can I go back to the salon, or see my independent beauty professional, if they have passed the Barbicide COVID-19 Course? 
Until the government says that it's safe enough to go and see our hairdressers and nail techs etc, no. I imagine when that day comes (and I can't bloody wait) the government will have set out specific guidelines to make it safe for beauty professionals to offer their services, I assume with as little contact as possible and following strict hygiene practices. Until that time, salons shouldn't be open for business. Beauty professionals taking the Barbicide COVID-19 Course isn't a bad thing at all and I'm not criticising them for it. It does include a useful refresher of basic hygiene principles as well as suggestions like making sure clients are aware to only turn up at their appointment time to avoid having to be in contact with other clients, and customer focused suggestions like how to make them feel at ease, such as making a point of saying "I'm washing my hands now" to draw attention to the fact you're conscious of hygiene. The course does demonstrate that beauty professionals have considered how to manage the virus and have taken the time to educate themselves with an optional supplementary course. It should supplement their knowledge, not be their sole COVID-19 training - and I'm sure this is how a vast majority of beauty professionals have approached it, too. The fact that there are no official guidelines for them yet, but there is a free online course, isn't their fault. However, like I said, I have seen some beauty professionals sharing their certification like it's a go-ahead for their services to resume as soon we're allowed outside again. This is not true. The Barbicide Course on it's own does not offer any information on sufficient COVID-19 safeguarding measures and is not recognised as such. In my opinion, any beauty professional who is sharing their certificate as if it certifies formal training that equips them with the ability to manage the spread of COVID-19 in their establishment is very disingenuous, because it's not okay to mislead your clients like that. (Professionals who genuinely think that the Barbicide Course is enough are questionable altogether!) At the moment, there isn't any updated training specifically for beauty professionals to prepare them to deal with the virus, and I appreciate that it isn't a good situation to be in. But they can't just replace a genuine omission of knowledge and training with a free course on the internet provided by a disinfectant manufacturer. 

Some criticisms of Barbicide COVID-19 Course... 
To be fair to Barbicide, they're not saying that taking the course gives the beauty professional sufficient and infallible knowledge on dealing with the virus in salons. On the other hand, I didn't see, at any point, a disclaimer that the course is supplementary knowledge and is not sufficient training on its own. It is useful as a refresher course, but it's easy to overstate the importance and authority of the Barbicide COVID-19 Course. For example Barbicide themselves say that beauty professionals are, "uniquely prepared to mitigate any risks and make it as safe as can be!" Are they? I didn't spot anything in their course that I hadn't already seen on the news.
I think, most of all, what sums it up is that I, someone who isn't a beauty professional and has never received any training or formal schooling on hygienic salon practices managed to finish the entire course - from the first slide to the last question - in one attempt, in just 13 minutes. Do you sincerely think then, that the course provides sufficient information for beauty professionals to safeguard against the spread of COVID-19? 


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P.S I really hope I don't offend anyone by saying this, least of all beauty professionals because I do realise what a horrible situation they must be in right now. It's so easy to be convinced by a 'certificate' and most of the time clients aren't going to know anything about the beauty industry to know otherwise, so I just wanted to point out my criticisms.

P.P.S if you're my nail/lash/brow tech or my hairdresser and you're reading this, I really miss you x

Information sources 
https://barbicide.com/certification/ 
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/beauty/hair/can-check-hairdresser-has-passed-covid-19-training/ 
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings/covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings

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