Keeping the face painting process hygienic has always been an important concern for artists and parents alike, although it’s getting a lot more buzz lately on social media with the latest outbreak of Coronavirus.
Whether you are someone who is living in fear of contracting the virus, someone who thinks it’s all media hype, or are somewhere in between, is really irrelevant. The fact is that however real the risk is, and whether we personally react to it at all or not, it IS affecting our business as entertainers. I live in Minnesota and recently started hearing of artists having events cancelled due to Coronavirus, when we hadn’t even had a single confirmed case yet. A lot more of this is happening in other parts of the country, so it’s a topic worth discussing. I am no doctor or infectious disease expert, but here are my thoughts on this and any virus this time of year, as they pertain to our industry!
Advice for artists & entertainers
Several artists have asked me what my common sense opinion is on this current situation. I actually wrote about this topic 5 years ago, and it all still applies for artists today, and really every day. If you are a face painter, I highly recommend reading this post and evaluating your practices. Make any changes you feel are needed, and let your clients know what you are doing to prevent the spread of germs. Here are just a few simple ways you can help stop the spread of germs:
- If you use sponges, use only one per child, whether they are disposable or you wash/sanitize them later, & don’t double-dip. (I avoid sponges almost entirely)
- Don’t paint over lips with your brushes. There is no need; there are plenty of disposable lip application tools out there. (see my older blog post)
- Keep your rinse water clean by changing it often. Use multiple basins to keep dirty water and fresh water separate.
- Rinse your brushes well between kids. For an extra precaution, bring a little jar of 70% alcohol to swish them in between faces.
- Use hand sanitizer between customers & wash hands well whenever possible.
- Keep disinfectant wipes/sprays on hand to clean your equipment periodically.
- Allow your paints to dry thoroughly between events.
- Wash and sanitize all brushes, sponges, towels, etc between events.
- Don’t paint over open wounds or on visibly sick kids.
- For an extra precaution, wipe the area to be painted with 70% alcohol wipes before you begin. I already do this when attaching bling, so wiping a larger area is no big deal.
- Do what you can to boost your own immune system with whatever healthy foods and supplements are available that you like!
Advice for event planners looking to hire entertainers
If you have hired a professional artist who takes hygiene seriously like I do, then I would venture to guess that kids are at greater risk interacting with each other waiting in line for painting, than they are sitting in my chair. Any time a large group of people gather in one place, the spread of germs is a given. However, here are a few things you might consider when lining up entertainment for your event:
- Ask the artists you hire what their hygiene practices are. If anything is lacking or bothers you, ask them what they can do to alleviate your concerns.
- Hire a real professional. Someone who’s livelihood depends on happy, healthy clients is way more likely to invest in sanitary practices and the expensive, FDA compliant products we use that contain antimicrobial properties.
- Hire enough artists for your crowd size. Long lines means more bodies in close quarters. The quicker you can get kids through the line and back to the event, the less time they’ll be bunched up, potentially coughing on each other while they wait!
- Provide hand sanitizer for your guests. If you are providing a volunteer line manager to help the kids form a line and choose designs, this is a great job for them!
- If face painting still makes you or your guests really uneasy, try adding on something else that doesn’t involve touching the face, like balloon twisting or glitter tattoos. Or, request that your artist only paint on arms. Our bling bar is another great option that can be done with no brushes or sponges involved!
- Know that we care. As artists we want all of your guests to have an awesome experience! And trust us, this is a subject we are concerned with all the time, not just during a widespread public outbreak. It is in our own best interest to keep things sanitary too! We drop ourselves right down into the center of crowds of kids on a regular basis. Kids cough and sneeze directly into our faces often, so we are always vigilant. We don’t like getting sick either, so you can rest assured we are doing everything we can to keep our stations healthy, for you AND ourselves! 😉
With any virus outbreak, you have to use your own judgement depending on your location and your own event’s setup. But, if you are an artist, I hope that this post has given you some ideas to step your sanitary practices up a notch. If you’re an event planner, I hope that this helps to ease your mind to know how hard we work any day of the year, not just cold & flu season, to keep your guests healthy and safe!
More Resources & Information
World Health Organization: The WHO has issued an event planning guide. Check it out here. It is meant to be read in conjunction with their Key Considerations for Public Health for Mass Gatherings.
The Center for Disease Control: The CDC has also issued a statement about mass gatherings as they relate to coronavirus.
Interactive Map: For an interactive map of the spread of coronavirus, check out this map by Johns Hopkins.
Got some of your own tips and tricks that I didn’t cover here or in my more extensive post on hygiene? Please feel free to comment and share!