“It’s funny but I sometimes feel like I am doctor doing a procedure,” Amey L said with a laugh. A manager and stylist at a B-Blunt salon in Bengaluru, Amey resumed work about four days ago and has adapted to the new normal.
She always wears a mask, a shoe cover, a head cover and a cape while in the salon — other than the mask, all of those are disposed of after every dealing with a customer.
Before the start of a service, whether a haircut or waxing, a face shield is clicked on, which is sanitised right after. “Our customers are happy we are taking this much care. But we are also doing this for our own safety,” said Amey.
From face shields to shoe covers, temperature checks to oximeter assessments, a temporary halt on facials and manicures to a compulsory hairwash before a haircut — salons in Bengaluru are putting in place a new post-lockdown protocol to draw back customers.
Amey and other staff in the salon have been split into a shift of 15 members each to avoid “cross-contamination,” said Gauri Spratt, partner and director, B-Blunt. “Once they enter, they change into a fresh set of clothes and footwear that they wear only in the salon. After every service, all the equipment used is sterilised and disinfected, as are the workstations. We stagger the appointments so that we have time for this,” said Spratt. Facials, manicures, threading of eyebrows and lips have been discontinued.
At the YLG chain of salons in the city, once a customer walks in, she is checked for both temperature and oxygen levels. “We use oximeters to check oxygen levels, which have to be above 92%,” said Vaijayanthi Balachandra, spokesperson.
“Every customer has to fill a self-declaration form that asks them their travel history, whether they have a cold or cough or if they have been exposed to the virus. We encourage an Aarogya Setu app compliance,” she added.
The staff in some salons are being nudged to come in personal vehicles and avoid public transport. There are also new rules that demand social distancing at all times inside the salon.
While salon chains are in a better position to follow such protocols, even single-person-run barbershops are doing their best. “I am quite scared about getting infected,” said Raju, who runs a barbershop in north Bengaluru. He opened for business a week ago after two months of zero earnings. While he does not have thermal guns to check the temperature of customers who come in, he insists they wear a mask, and sanitise their hands. “If I feel doubtful that they have fever or if they are ill, I send them back,” he said.
He does only haircuts for now. “I am not doing any shaves or facials for now. It is too risky.”
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