For the last three months, Ram Harsh Sen has been sitting idle at home. Occasionally, he would open his Juhu-based salon and spend some time there, “just to get a feel of work”. On Saturday, as half-a-dozen of his staff returned to the salon, to make necessary arrangements for reopening the unit from the next day, there was a sudden bustle of energy.
“For now, we have decided to allow only five customers inside the salon at a time. No one will be allowed to wait outside it. Customers, however, can wait in their cars, if they have one,” Sen says.
Most of the cushioned, red chairs at his first-floor ‘Harsh salon’ have now been stacked at one corner; only five set up across the floor. A new sanitiser dispenser has been put up at the entrance, while a new contact-less thermometer lies on the counter.
Before the pandemic, the salon would cater to 10-15 customers at a time while there would be at least an hour-long waiting of patrons outside, especially during the weekends. “I know things will be different now. My daily earnings will also dip, but that is the only way to operate for now,” he says.
On Saturday, salons and parlours across the city geared up to reopen amid a slew of precautions. Under the ‘Mission Begin Again’ phase IV, only services like haircuts, dyeing hair, waxing and threading can be offered. Any services related to the skin have been prohibited. In addition, some salons are requesting patrons to download the Aarogya Setu mobile application, while a few others have made wearing gloves and mask mandatory.
Online services, such as Urban Clap, which offer home salon service, said their beauty experts will be masked, have sanitised equipment, and for threading will not use their mouth to hold the thread.
In Mumbra, Shaikh Wasim said several hairstylists remain unsure of whether to resume business amid the rising cases. “It is still risky. I will observe if others resume work and then take a call,” he said. “We will have to use disposable tissue paper instead of a towel for a haircut. I will not let more than two people sit inside,” Wasim said. He has two staffers under him.
VLCC salons in Mumbai plan to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) for their staff. In every half-hour disinfection of chair and surfaces will be carried out.
Enrich Salons, a hair and beauty salon chain, said all stand-alone centres, except those located in malls, will resume services from Sunday. “All equipment will be sterilised after each service. For each customer, a new PPE kit will be donned by our staffer. We will be providing safety supplement kit to every customer. It costs Rs 170. It will have a shoe cover, sanitiser, upper body overall, and a bag cover,” an official from Enrich said.
Some salons, however, are refraining from resuming work due to staff shortage. Pooja Bhargava, who runs one in Kandivali, said, “Half of my staff lives in Virar, they can’t travel. Another half have left for their villages. We will start our salon once they return.”
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