Of late, a number of Coronavirus cases have come to light in India. As the disease is contracted primarily by touch and proximity, the beauty and wellness industry is the most impacted. Not only is it tough to cut hair or apply make-up from a distance of six feet, the concept of work from home doesn’t quite work either. Keeping these occupational constraints in mind, we spoke to stakeholders about the measures they are taking to safeguard the health of the team, customers, and ways to overcome financial hits.
Coronavirus has been threatening to engulf the world since December 2019, and in March 2020 realizing the speed at which it was spreading across the world, WHO declared it as a pandemic. Today, the mantra to avert the spread of infection is to socially distance oneself and avoid places where people collect together, whether it is in schools, colleges, malls, gyms and even, cinema halls. This is also the reason for people to not visit salons and spas. Another case in point is that every year after Holi, salons would do brisk business as there were several customers walking in for a facial, or a shampoo, or a mani-pedi, however this year, customers are calling salons to send a facialist or masseur home. In such a dismal background, the beauty and wellness industry of India, has taken a nosedive with business being reduced to 50% in a short span of time. On a weekday, barely 4 to 5 customers walk into a salon or spa, while on a weekend the number goes up to 7 or 8. Rather discouraging numbers and the worst part is that there are no timelines as to when things will be back on track.
The outbreak of coronavirus has caused severe economic consequences in the beauty sphere. Here’s what the stakeholders have to say…
Neha Suradkar, Makeup & Nail Artist, Educator, Founder, Style-n-File Makeup & Nail Studio & Academy in Mumbai, reveals, “Businesses are slowing down due to the lockdown advisory and need for social distancing. A setup like ours, which is in a mall will be mostly shut. Weddings and events have been called off, which has again impacted the business.”
To overcome the loss of business, says Neha, “We’ve made arrangements to cater to clients at home if someone is urgently looking for services.” The advice she’d like to give salon professionals to stay safe is to maintain hygiene, wash and sanitize hands, as well as sanitize all the equipment and other surfaces regularly, avoid serving a client with visible symptoms of the virus, not travel by crowded public transport, and limit the number of clients and staff members at a particular time. Business will suffer, but losses can be made up, if you remain healthy.”
While there are several groups of people who can ‘work from home’, hair and make-up artists employed at salons, do not have that privilege. Therefore, the management is urging teams to follow hygiene protocols.
Enrich Salons & Academy in Mumbai has selected social media to caution professionals on the virus attack. Their catch line ‘Precautions begin with you and me’ emphasizes the simple facts that are easy to do, and will go a long way in curbing the spread of the virus. They have urged the use of single-use disposable towels, sheets, head bands, capes, gloves and napkins as they significantly reduce the risk of contamination.
Shares Vikram Bhatt, Director, Enrich Salons & Academy, “When we perform a service we use mono-dose packs. All the products come in a single sealed pack that is opened only once and for one client. This way single packs multiply hygiene and safety.” To further reduce infection, he elaborates, “Our customers and team members have to provide a self declaration of symptoms, foreign travel, and exposure to high risk segments. If you have to be isolated, it’ll be the best community service you can do in addition to saving yourself.” While, everyone has been using sanitizers generously on their hands, it will be a good idea to also sanitize door handles, wear masks, and make digital payments to avoid touching currency.
Richa Aggarwal, Beauty Expert, Cleopatra Salon & Beauty Academy in Chandigarh, Mallika Gambhir, Beauty Expert, Persona Salon & Makeovers Academy in Noida and Priyanka Ahmed, Owner, Masah Spa & Salon in Delhi, collectively feel the need to adhere to several preventive measures such as disinfecting the chairs, tables and other furniture in the salon, using disposable sheets, gowns, glasses and cups to serve water or tea, and other accessories, urging staff to use alcohol based sanitizers and hand soaps to wash their hands, wear masks, and when a team member is suffering from fever, cold and/ or cough, he or she is asked to not visit the salon.
Salons and spas have several options to steer clear of the virus, but what can an independent make-up artist do to save her business and herself from the virus? Niti Gandhi, an independent make-up artist in Mumbai tells us, “Coronavirus is transmitted through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Our business needs us to be in close proximity with a client, which can prove to be harmful if either is infected. The truth remains if you’re close enough to touch your clients face or hair, you’re close enough to acquire infection.”
Elaborating on ways to beat the virus, she says, “In our business it’s critical to maintain high standards of hygiene. I feel one should never compromise on it, more now. Therefore, we ask our clients to sterilise their hands with a sterillium to prevent the risk of contamination. We also advise them to put on a mask during their appointment. Tools such as combs, scissors, and brushes are prime candidates for contamination. It’s easy for virus to spread and cause infections between clients so, before every appointment we sterilise all the tools, wipe surfaces with hospital-grade disinfectants and keep the floor and basin area clean, especially after a client has had a haircut. In the wake of things, we are ramping up health and hygiene awareness. We have asked our clients to stay at home if they have shown any symptom of the virus. Also, we have instituted a more lenient cancellation policy where we have waived off the cancellation fee if the client cancels the appointment due to health reasons to keep the sanctity of our other clients’ health.”
Rene Furterer, the renowned hair and scalp care brand, is gaining immense popularity in India. To combat the effects of Coronovirus, Yashesh Bharwada, Director, Absolute Beauty Concepts Pvt Ltd, suggests salon professionals and customers, alike, to frequently wash their hands, practice social distancing, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, practice respiratory hygiene, and if someone has fever, cough and find it difficult to breathe, seek medical care early.
We’re all in it together, so let’s play our individual parts to perfection.
Tomorrow we will find out what experts from the grocery segment have to say about the effects of COVID-19 on their sector.
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