WATCH | 'It felt like Christmas' - hairdressers express joy at easing of lockdown regulations

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  • Owners of personal care businesses were finally granted permission to operate after almost three months of being shut.
  • Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced hairdressers could reopen their doors under advanced Level 3 of the Covid-19 lockdown.
  • However, strict safety regulations were outlined and businesses were expected to implement these protocols before reopening.

To the delight of many South Africans, it was announced last week that hairdressers, beauty salons and other personal care businesses could open their doors again amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Shireen Abrahams, owner of Syzygy Hair Salon in Cape Town, said hearing the announcement "felt like Christmas".

"The fear of the virus is so real and it's so scary but at the same time we kind of feel that life needs to go on," she told News24.

For almost three months this sector was shut down due to the nationwide lockdown, which was government's response to the spread of the coronavirus.

Prior to the lockdown, Abrahams was always fully booked but now she's only able to book about three clients a day.

Earlier during the lockdown she had to take out a loan to pay her rent.

In Johannesburg, Rekiat Okpe is also trying to make up for lost time.

Okpe owns Rekky Signature Hair and Nail Salon located in Killarney in the northern suburbs.

"It has been a big relief. We have been home for about 85 days, no income, no salary, and most of the workers didn't qualify for UIF," she said.

However, it isn't business as usual.

Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni outlined strict safety regulations that businesses in the industry are expected to comply with before reopening.

Practitioners need to ensure their respective working spaces are sanitised, social distancing should be observed and personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face masks and gloves, should always be worn.

Both Abrahams and Okpe have made major changes to their businesses.

"We have gloves for all the staff, which they use every time they work on a client… I also got them washable masks and a shield," Okpe said.

Customers are required to sanitise their hands and have their temperature taken.

"We kind of feel life needs to go on. We feel like we need to find a positive approach, so to me it feels like starting a fresh," Abrahams said.

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