Spa lets you ditch mask with proof of vaccination

Seaside Spa and Salon is asking maskless clients to show proof of inoculation for staff members’ comfort.

The Seaside Spa and Salon in Coupeville is requiring patrons to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before removing their masks.

“If you are fully vaccinated and would like to carry your vaccination card to your appointment, you will be welcome to remove your mask while visiting Seaside Spa,” the business announced in a June 3 Facebook post.

The policy came shortly after Center for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals, stating they are safe to go maskless indoors.

Spa director Aaron Wiley said the decision to implement the policy was based largely on staff and patron comfort. Some spa staff members expressed concern that some customers might not be honest about their vaccination status unless the spa required evidence.

“I have staff who are expectant mothers, battling auto-immune disorders, recovering from major surgeries, caregivers to elderly household members, raising babies, and some single parents,” Wiley told the News-Times. “They fear being exposed and have been so very careful to do everything right during this extremely challenging situation.”

All spa staff — vaccinated or not — are continuing to wear masks at work for the time being.

Though Wiley said the policy was rooted in safety concerns above all else, she acknowledged how difficult it was to make a decision that some might view as politically charged.

The ethics and legality of any institution requiring proof of inoculation has been a hot topic across the country in recent months.

Legally, private companies can refuse service to anyone for almost any reason, and vaccination status is not one of the exceptions to this freedom.

However, questions such as whether asking to see a vaccine passport constitutes a violation of privacy, or whether the government can prevent institutions from implementing this policy, remain largely unanswered.

Wiley said she had no intention of making a political statement of any kind with this policy.

“We’ve always remained very politically neutral at Seaside Spa,” she said.

Though Wiley worried the policy might spark some backlash, she said the only negative feedback has been one social media comment. Other than that, Seaside has received support from clients and industry professionals alike, and the salon has never been busier.