Gyms, salon owners seek govt nod to open shops from June 1
With the fourth phase of the lockdown set to end on May 31, gyms, fitness centres and salon owners’ associations have written to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal urging him to allow the reopening of these ventures from June 1, but with strict safety precautions in place.
The associations as well as app-based beauty and wellness service providers have shared a long list of measures that they are ready to take in line with social distancing norms once they are allowed to open shop. This includes downloading of the Aarogya Setu app by both clients and staff, PPE kits for all staff members, turning away walk-in customers, using disposable and sterilised equipment, and sanitisation of the gym exercising area every 45 minutes, among others.
There are an estimated 5,500 gyms and over 5,000 salons registered across the city, as per these associations.
“We have written to the CM as well as to Delhi labour minister Gopal Rai to consider reopening gyms, fitness studios and salons from next month. We have been suffering losses. We have a complete strategy in place to open shop while maintaining social distancing and ensuring safety of customers,” said Chirag Sethi, vice-president, Delhi Gym Association.
Some of these measures, he said, including deploying staff in PPE kits at the entry of shops for thermal screening of clients, maintaining a minimum of six feet between machines and disinfecting equipment every 45 minutes. “We will request people to get new memberships and book slots online,” Sethi said.
Currently, gyms and salons are closed in Delhi, as per the Delhi-specific guidelines for the fourth phase of the lockdown. In several cities, including neighbouring Gurugram, salons and barbershops have opened since May 3, during the third phase of the lockdown.
A senior Delhi government official said, “A decision on the matter will be taken by the government after the Centre issues the new set of guidelines for the period from June 1.”
Meenakshi Dutt, vice president, Delhi Salons Association, said they have written a number of letters to the CM and the deputy CM to allow the opening of salons given that the retail and wholesale markets have been allowed to open with restrictions.
“Salons and parlours in Delhi employ around 3 lakh people, most of whom come from modest backgrounds. They have been jobless for almost two months and are surviving on 50% salaries. For how long can all of us survive without work with rents and bills to pay? We are ready with a standard operating procedure (SOP) to reopen the shops keeping everyone’s safety in mind,” Dutt said.
She said all salons have been asked to impart at least a week’s training to staff before reopening. “Also, we will ensure clients and staff download the Aarogya Setu app and keep their bluetooth on, only after which they will be allowed entry. Walk-in customers will not be allowed and prior appointments will be mandatory. Disposable kits will be used for each customer and the equipment will be sanitised after use,” she said.
Brijesh Goyal, convenor, Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) trade and industry wing, said he had also received requests from these sectors and will be sending a recommendation to the government in this regard. “Most of these establishments run out of rented properties with high rents and maintenance bills to pay. Besides, they employ a large number of both skilled and unskilled workers,” Goyal said.
App-based service providers such as Urban Company (formerly Urban Clap) too have appealed to the government to allow restarting of services.
“We have appealed to the Delhi government on multiple occasions to allow us to resume at-home beauty and wellness services. We believe, in the near term, customers will be keener to have services delivered to them at home rather than stepping out. We have in place a comprehensive set of protocols for providing these services. We will not be catering to containment zones,” said Mukund Kulashekaran, SVP Beauty and Wellness Vertical, Urban Company.