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Stylists in PPE kit, service by appointment: Parlours, salons open amid Covid-19 pandemic

By Sharanya Munsi, Gurugram:
PUBLISHED ON MAY 04, 2020 11:30 PM IST

Parlours and salons in the city resumed services with limited staff across the city on Monday as the third phase of the nationwide lockdown kicked in with considerable relaxations. Hair stylists and beauticians working at such establishments welcomed customers in PPE (personal protective equipment) suits as taking statutory precautions to safeguard staff and customers remained a key concern amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Before we opened our doors to the customers, the salon was thoroughly sanitized and disinfected. At the end of the day, we will also fumigate the premises. We had only four staff members working today who were provided PPE kits from a medical distributor. The kit included cap, goggles, mask, coat and gloves,” said Sandeep Kalra, co-owner of salon chain Grace & Glamour. The company has 11 branches in Gurugram, but started its operations only in outlets at sectors 15 and 31.

Kalra said that for customers, temperature screening and noting down of personal details were mandated. The salon also did away with magazines and newspapers and it allowed customers to step inside only on an appointment basis.

“We wanted to make sure that there was no waiting. Customers came, received their service and left immediately,” said Kalra.

Gurugram deputy commissioner Amit Khatri in an order dated May 3 had said that salons and beauty parlours could operate from Monday, but big markets like shopping malls, Galleria market and Sadar Bazaar would continue to remain closed.

Owing to reduced staff strength, walk-ins are being avoided by most establishments to prevent crowding. BloBar Ibis Gurgaon, a hair salon located on Golf Course Road, advertised resuming services soon after government guidelines on easing the lockdown was announced. It mentioned operating strictly on appointment basis to limit the number of customers present at its salon.

“We were fully booked for Monday. We had only three staff for the day. Transportation was provided to them as we did not want them to take public transport. They were also provided PPE kits. At the salon, only three customers were allowed in at a time,” said Sargam Chopra, owner and founder of BloBar.

Chopra said that the salon had also provided the option of customers bringing in their own towels as it stopped outsourcing its laundry and was doing in-house laundry. “Some customers got their own towels, as it makes them feel safe,” she said.

Besides, all efforts are being made by these establishments to reduce skin contact between clients and staff, keeping safety measures in mind. This is leading to a change in procedure of services like threading and hair cutting.

“For threading, we earlier didn’t wear a mask. But now we will loop the thread around the neck, sanitize the thread and then do it. This way, the end of the thread is not held in the mouth, so it is safe. For colouring and cutting, we were already wearing masks. Previously, some facials were done wearing gloves but now it will be done for all,” said Bharti Taneja, founder and director of Alps Beauty Group.

As the salons and parlours opened after more than 40 days, some of the sought after services were haircuts, trimmings, colour touch-ups and threading.

Several parlours and salons in the city had closed down operations mid-March even before the lockdown began, citing low footfall. “There was some business after Holi, but then the coronavirus scare took hold and people stopped coming to parlours. We stopped services around March 20,” said Kalra.

A guideline issued by the Beauty & Wellness Sector Skill Council directs all salon professionals to closely ensure sanitisation and disinfection of work stations, hydraulic chairs, tools, equipment and trolleys. It also suggested immediate removal of cut hair on the floor as well as from combs, brushes, rollers, and scissors by rinsing in lukewarm shampoo water.

“Avoid threading, and recommend peel off wax to the clientele • Use disposable spatula to apply the peel off wax • Apply talcum powder with a piece of cotton on the forehead/upper lips for threading • Use disposable spatula for the wax application, and disposable strips for waxing,” read the directives titled Health & Hygiene Guidelines for the Beauty & Wellness Industry, Post Covid-19 Pandemic.

Individual cosmetic brands have also shared circulars with franchise owners on maintaining safety standards. A pre-opening guidelines issued by L’Oreal suggests using alternate salon chairs to maintain social distancing along with other measures like sterilisation of equipment.

Most establishments in the city are looking at segregated openings of their outlets as they focus on figuring out a hygiene and sanitation protocol.

Taneja of Alps Beauty Group, who runs around 30 outlets in Delhi-NCR, said that the Gururgam outlet of her beauty clinic will resume operations from Tuesday.

Several such establishments located in shopping complexes and malls in the city, however, remained closed for services. Beauty chain owners are also refraining from opening shutters in areas like Galleria market.

“We are awaiting further government guideline as our salon is in Galleria Market,” said Neeraj Jain, franchise owner of Revlon salon.

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