Hair salons and spas reopened over the weekend in Maharashtra’s Nanded district, but with a catch — bring your own towel if you want a haircut.
Guidelines issued by Nanded Collector Vipin Itankar include wearing face masks, booking prior appointments, sterilising and sanitising scissors, combs and brushes before and after use and maintaining a distance of three feet between customers.
At Ankush Men’s Parlour in Vazirabad, proprietor Ankush Waghmare spent all of Saturday evening sanitising his premises before opening the next morning. Representatives of the district’s Nabhik community, who run more than 350 hair salons in the city, had petitioned the Collector several times since the lockdown was eased, before finally being granted permission to open.
In line with other commercial and business activities resuming in orange districts, getting a haircut also comes with conditions in Nanded. “We do not let anyone enter if he isn’t wearing a mask. If a customer hasn’t brought a towel along, we tell him to either go home and bring one or buy one,” said Waghmare. The salon next to Waghmare’s has been selling large napkins for Rs 10 each to customers who walk in without one.
Ganesh Bahadure, who runs a pharmacy next door and is one of Waghmare’s oldest clients, is among those who brought his own towel. “I have been coming here for 18 years but feel safer using my own towel,” he said.
Salons have invested heavily to purchase large quantities of disinfectant and sanitiser. Their newest tools are plastic gloves, mask and extra plastic spray canisters filled with sanitiser. Before a haircut, Waghmare and his colleagues sanitise the chair’s cushion, backrests, armrests, their hands, scissors, combs, brushes and the customer’s hands.
Business has been slow. Waghmare said customers are afraid to visit salons. “People became very scared after watching news last month of a barber who had unknowingly infected his customers in Bhopal. Before the lockdown, we never had time to rest,” said Waghmare.
At Vinay Men’s Parlour down the road, owner Anil Sanjeevanikar has spent the last three days “repairing haircuts”. “Lots of men have grown so irritated with hair growing over their faces in the last two months that they have cut off the fringe clumsily. That has spoiled their whole look. Some men come with uneven lengths,” he said.
“I am down from 10-15 customers a day before the lockdown to 2-3 now,” he said.
Ordered by the district administration to enforce the presence of no more than four customers at a time, salons have started to cut down on all forms of entertainment that made them a social clubhouse before the lockdown.
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