A bittersweet reopening

The United Barber Shop has been busy since re-opening on MondayPHOTO:
The United Barber Shop has been busy since re-opening on MondayPHOTO:

City hairstylists and beauticians have reported an overwhelming response to their reopening after lockdown restrictions.

Most salons are already almost fully booked on a daily basis and have had clients through the door since Monday.

Citing challenges such as outlaying expenses for sanitisation and restructuring the salons in keeping with regulations, most of these businesses said it was an expensive exercise.

“We’ve been shut for almost three months and were overjoyed to re-open. But the costs for sanitisation, PPE and restructuring our salons to ensure social distancing has been quite harsh.

“We’ve had to outlay quite a bit in an industry that has already borne a massive dent,” said Craik Speirs, owner of Craik Speirs Hair and Beauty Salons in Pietermaritzburg and Hilton.

Speirs said the salons have had an overwhelming response with the “appointment book” filling in “nicely”.

Taryn Cader, a manager at the Senses Salon and Spa, said they have had to strategise extensively to make the business relevant during the lockdown and now as regulations are relaxed.

She said during the lockdown they realised they could still earn from the business even though it was closed by selling essential retail products, such as cleansers and shampoos, online.

“We’ve had to change things quite a bit now to re-open. Our business is based on using our time to the maximum with as many clients as we can get. We have had to reduce the number of clients we take in to ensure social distancing and that our clients do not cross paths with each other at any stage while here. It’s little things like these that we have been particular about to ensure both our clients and staff are safe,” said Cader.

Kirsten Prinsloo, the salon manager, said they have had a “fair bit of bookings” and have reduced the services on offer to ensure they are not getting a high volume of people coming in.

“We’ve done away with the little treatments that take a shorter time to ensure we don’t have many people coming in as well. We’ve removed magazines, and our tea and coffee stations and are encouraging clients to come in with their own water bottles and reading materials,” said Prinsloo.

Seelan Naidoo, who owns the United Barber Shop, said he had a “fantastic” first day back on Monday with people queuing outside the shop before it was even open.

“We are an institute known for our massive waiting area that can seat more than 20 people at a time. We’ve done away with the couches and now have chairs spaced out inside the shop as well as outside for those who are waiting for their haircuts. It’s great to be back behind the chair,” said Naidoo.

Magesh Naidoo, owner of Komisha Beauty in Hayfields, said she was excited to re-open her business but voiced her concern over whether there would be any support.

“My salon is 12 years old. It’s really been a tough few months with so much to contend with from both a business and a personal perspective.

“The hardest part is knowing that it’s going to take us time to rebuild our client bases as we have lost so many customers to home-care kits.

“Another problem we could face is that people don’t have money to spend on hair and beauty treatments with money being tight.

“The beauty and hair industry was already facing challenges prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and we now have to work harder than ever before to keep our businesses alive,” said Naidoo.

FORMAL salons will need to adhere to the following rules:

Provide a hand sanitising/hand-washing station for customers before they enter the business premises;

Sanitise/wash hands after handling cash;

Encourage contactless payment where possible;

Disinfect common areas before and after use including after serving each customer;

Sanitise or wash with soap each equipment or tool before and after each use;

All bottles with products must be wiped down with a 70% alcohol solution after serving each customer and at the end and beginning of each business day;

Fresh and clean towels must be used for each customer;

Keep windows/doors open, if possible, to ensure adequate ventilation;

Arrange adequate PPE for employees;

Masks must be worn at all times and the stylist must also wear a face shield/visor that must be cleaned after serving each customer;

Aprons and gloves should be changed after each client;

Encourage pre-booking appointments to avoid long queues and waiting period;

Salons must only allow customers inside if the 1,5-metre distance can be maintained;

Employees and owners above the age of 60 or with comorbidities must be discouraged from working;

Use a booking system for treatment appointment;

No guests are allowed; and

Suspend the provision of all beverage and food amenities for customers.

— Witness Reporter.

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