Face Painting and the Coronavirus - COVID-19

 THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BEFORE THE SPEED OF THE  SPREAD of COVID-19 and the impact of the disease was fully understood, so please follow the suggestions of the CDC and from well informed doctors, scientists and your government leaders when considering if now if an appropriate time to face paint at parties. Face painters are not part of the essential/critical workforce, so if STAY HOME orders are issued in your state or county, it is best to err on the side of caution and wait until a later date to paint at parties. There are other services you can provide like Video Chat magic shows, face paint story telling or princess parties where the birthday child can spend some time with you while they are practicing social distancing on their birthday. Now is the time to be creative and find alternative ways to keep your business going during this difficult time in COVID-19 has reached your area.  (3/28/2020)

Below is the original post.  

Given that the entire world is currently in one way or another focused on the Coronavirus, specifically the COVID-19 and its consequences, we have decided that we should make a blog post about the way this new virus will or can affect our industry and how to best approach your customers and the public to keep them safe while still continuing to run your business if your area is not affected and you are still allowed to work.

Feel free to watch this video tutorial explaining some safe practices that you can use to keep your face painting sanitary.

 

Through the entire article we will use as a reference the USA CDC website since that is our official source of information in the USA for the outbreak: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html

Can Coronavirus/CVID-19 be spread through Face Painting?

Based on the CDC website, "the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). It passes through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads."

CDC Website

So, the virus can spread during any kind of activity in the presence of a sick person, but there is no indication based on the CDC information in our opinion that the act of applying paint to the face is a way of spread. However,  being in close proximity to others if they cough will increase the risk of contracting the virus, and this is hard to avoid while face painting. 

Is Face Painting Safe while we have a Coronavirus / COVID-19 outbreak?

As explained before, that depends on how you do it, and of course on the recommendations of your local authorities. Face Painting can be done in a sanitary way to help reduce the chances of spreading the virus, but nothing in life is full proof. In many states, people still go out to work, to the supermarket, the movies, parks, and they use public transportation. Face painting is just another activity in those states where stay at home orders are not in place due to lack of cases of the virus there.

What Can I do to Help Prevent the Spread of the COVID-19 Virus While I Face Paint?

The CDC Website recommends the following actions:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask.

The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in closed settings (at home or in a health care facility).

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

keep surfaces clean

 So, lets translate that to what can be done while you are face painting:

  1. Have a sign that clearly indicates that as precaution your policy is to ALWAYS paint only those who do not show any kind of symptoms for any disease. Personally I would not mention the COVID-19 virus specifically, as this should always be your policy anyhow, and this way you reduce the spread of panic or the association of COVID-19 with face painting.
  2. Keep your hands off your own face! This is a hard one, but it is very important. Now, since your brushes and sponges will be touching the kids face, we highly suggest you use one brush and one sponge per load per child. Meaning, once that sponge or brush has been loaded and has touched the kid's face, it does not go back to your paint. The sponge should get tossed in a separate, far away bag that you can take home and disinfect later, and the brushes should be sanitized before they get used again. If you feel it makes you feel safer and look more sanitary you can also use gloves. Regardless, you should clean your gloves/hands with hand sanitizer in between every client. 
  3. If you are sick and have any of the symptoms of a disease that can be transmitted, it is always best to stay home. Your customers will understand. They don't need to know exactly what bug you caught, again, no need to spread fear. All they need to know is that you are sick and you will send a replacement. 
  4. If you have to cough, do it on your sleeve or a tissue and throw it away, then, sanitize your hands with hand sanitizer, thoroughly.
  5. Keep some sanitizing cleaning wipes with you at all times to clean the chair and table in between clients. That way they know you are taking every precaution possible. Do it fast and don't make a big deal of it, otherwise it would induce more panic. Just make it look as part of your regular routine. 
  6. Try using a number's system and call the kids by number rather than having them all do a line. This way they are not all together coughing on each other and they stay further away from your face painting kit.
  7. Keep your kit at a safe distance from others and make sure you let your paint completely dry out before you put it away for the day. 
  8. As an extra precaution you might want to avoid painting near the eyes, nose and mouth, and ask the kids to clean their faces before getting painted.

If you want to read a very detailed blog post on sanitation please visit our Top 10 Safety and Hygiene Tips for Face Painting - The Ultimate Guide post for more in depth information.

Should I Cancel an Event out of Fear for the Coronavirus / COVID-19?

That decision is up to you. If your local authorities have forced event venues to close down then you will have to follow their directions, but if there are no directions from the authorities or event planner then that is up to you. Make an informed decision, you can ask yourself the following questions:

- Am I part of the higher risk group that could get really sick if I caught the virus?

- Is the virus prominent in my town? See this map for more information on that.

- Have I recently traveled to one of the areas where the virus is more prominent and 14 days have not passed since yet? In this case you might want to stay home until 14 days have passed to make sure you are not sick. 

Keep in mind that a cancellation will affect future bookings and can affect the overall feel for our industry during this health crisis, and it might be unnecessary if you take the precautions recommended by the health authorities in your area.

What to Do If Someone Wants to Cancel an Event Due to Coronavirus / COVID-19 Concerns?

How each person decides to react to this situation is their personal decision and we highly suggest that in case a host wants to cancel an event due to this specific situation you first let them know what measures you have in place to help prevent the spread so that the host knows that you know what you are doing. If they insist, then you can look at your contract and act accordingly. Keep in mind though that many companies are becoming more flexible on cancellation fees and deposits because of this particular situation so you might want to temporarily change your non refundable booking fee to at least be transferable to a future event, so long as you have an open date when that future event comes up. 

You can also offer a service that has less contact with the face like a special balloon delivery, henna, animal balloons, glitter tattoos and airbrush tattoos, or avoid all contact by providing a magic show or video chat or sing along with a special character.

Also, we highly recommend calling your deposit a BOOKING FEE so that it is clear that the amount paid in advance is actually to cover the expenses related to booking the party, which you have already done. This way it doesn't sound like you are being unreasonable holding on to a fee for an event you haven't done.

What Else Should I keep in Mind in Relationship to Face Painting and the Coronavirus / COVID-19?

The most important thing beyond prevention, is not to spread panic or fear within your customers. Taking preventive measures is a great thing, spreading fear is not since it won't make anything better and can make people act irrationally. Once fear spreads it is hard to control. You have a business to run, a family to feed, and most businesses have continued to operate even under these circumstances during yearly flu seasons of the past. However, this is a new strain of flu that has created a worldwide pandemic, so you have to stay calm and think logically and in the interest of those you come in contact with. 

A Few Tips and Ideas to Make your Kit as Sanitary as Possible

1 - Keep your face paints, brushes and sponges protected. You can do that by keeping a thin sheet of clear plastic over your paints and keeping your unused brushes in a sealed container as well as your unused sponges.

2 - When you get to the event use hand sanitizer or ask the host where you can wash your hands. Make sure not to touch any door knobs or other people once you have washed.

3 - Keep a hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes at hand to clean your hands in between customers.

4 - Never double dip your sponges or brushes. Only dip them once in the water and once in the paint. If you need more, reach for a new sponge and a new brush. This way nothing goes from the face you are painting to the paint or your water. Sponges can be washed off at home, brushes can be soaked in 70% alcohol and be left to try before re-use. You might want to adapt your designs so that you know they can be painted with just one load of each cake.

5 - Use something like the rinse well for your water, since that way only clean water touches your brushes.

6 - According to the CDC a sanitizer without at least 60% alcohol like Brush Bath or Lush Brush won't be effective to kill he COVID-19 virus, so don't rely just on those as your primary sanitation method for this situation.

7 - You can ask your host if they would like you to use gloves while painting. It might make some feel safer, while it might make others feel uncomfortable. This won't really make a change but it can give the impression of a cleaner practice. Just make sure to avoid latex gloves or powdered gloves since many can be allergic to them.

8 - After each party clean your kit thoroughly with sanitizing wipes approved by the CDC to fight the COVID-19 virus. Let your paints dry out in a safe environment where they can't come in contact with the virus. Do not spray your paints with anything as that can affect their performance. As far as the CDC knows the virus won't survive for too long on the surface. Some suggest using UV lights, or a food dehydrator since there is a chance that heat or the UV light might be able to kill the virus, but there is no confirmation from the CDC on that.

9 - Avoid painting around the eyes, mouth and nose. If you paint the lips use disposable q-tips and throw them away, far from your kit. If you use glitter either apply it loose with a poofer, or if you will spread it, make sure not to double dip and try using the silicone wands to apply since those can be sanitized easily between customers. 

10 - Have a small section on your website dedicated to sanitation so potential customers can see what steps do you take, and see that you care. You don't have to make it all about the COVID-19 as that can actually scare customers away, but rather about how face painting can be done in a sanitary way. You can include images, a video, or simply a list of common practices you take.

11 - When possible, try arriving to your gig on your own car rather than through public transportation to reduce the chances of getting in contact with the virus. 

12 - Instead of giving away business cards you can have a large version of it printed and on display on your table and asks guests to take a picture of it. That way you reduce chances of spread through contact as well.

13 - Before a kid seats on your chair you can squirt some hand sanitizer on their hands, and ask them to rub it well between their fingers, back and front of the hand and nails. Then when they seat and grab the sides of your chair their hands will be clean. You can still do a quick wiping of the chair in between customers.

14 - Use a numbers system to prevent people from standing in line. Give away stickers or write down their names on a list, this way you don't have a bunch of kids standing in a line very close to each-other.

15 - When the weather and location allows, ask to paint in a well ventilated area, preferably outside. The CDC says that well ventilated environments are safer.

16 - Although it can be hard, try and make it all look natural, don't make a big deal of it. Do it with a smile to create a sensation of safety and not panic... just like they do at a doctor's office or at a tattoo shop. 

What are the Proven Ways to Kill the COVID-19 virus from surfaces?

Please keep in mind that this product has not been proven to kill the COVID-19 virus. The CDC recommends the following products to kill the COVID-19 virus:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html

Here is a list of the EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use AgainstNovel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the Cause of COVID-19:

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-03/documents/sars-cov-2-list_03-03-2020.pdf

What Can I do If I Don't have Events to Face Paint at For a While?

Well, this is the time to do everything you had not done so far for your business! Here are some great ideas:


- Practice! Use your paints to practice and get better, if you rather not use it on kids, you can get a practice board and practice on them. Get better so that when things go back to normal you can offer even better quality face painting.

- Learn new Skills. If you have never tried glitter tattoos, airbrush, henna or balloon twisting this might be the time! Maybe you can explore doing magic shows or face painting with story telling, or develop some new characters and costumes. Go to YouTube.com and find tutorials. This will help you expand your skills and be able to get more jobs once people start booking again.

- Improve your marketing. Go work on your website, your social media pages, your blog. Create content, improve images, add more content. This way, when people start booking for events they will have an easier time finding you.

- Read about business topics and other face painting related things. At Jest Paint we have a huge blog filled with great information that you now have time to read :)

Please remember, WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, we are not health officials, we are not health workers or lawyers. We are business owners in the face painting industry and our advice should be taken as an opinion based on our research. Please consult with health care workers and or the authorities for directions on how to act. Jest Paint is not liable in any form for what you do or stop doing based on the advice given on this blog post or for whatever happens to your, your customers or any other person in relationship to the opinions provided on this blog post.

Next article How to Start and Run a Face Painting Business - The Complete Guide

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