Home services marketplace Urban Company has urged the government to allow barbers and beauticians to "deliver home services" in all areas, except containment zones.
In a letter to the Home Secretary, Urban Company Co-founder and CEO Abhiraj Singh Bhal lauded the Ministry of Home Affairs on allowing resumption of beauty and barber services in green and orange zones.
"However, the vast majority of this industry is based in red zones. We humbly request that this list be expanded to include at-home beauty and barber services (including through online aggregators facilitating such at-home services), in all areas excluding containment zones," he said in the letter dated May 6.
Like most businesses, salons and grooming services providers have also been adversely affected by COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown. Given that social distancing is becoming the new normal, these services - which involve physical contact - could continue to remain affected for some time.
He said the beauty industry provides livelihood to nearly 60-70 lakh people across India, and self-employed women beauticians form a large part of this workforce.
"Many of them are single breadwinners for their families, and the ongoing COVID-19 crises has adversely impacted their livelihood. Depriving these individuals of incomes for extended time will lead to forced migration and disruption of families," he said.
It will also deprive the industry of trained workforce built with years of effort and investment, Bhal noted. Drawing parallels with the food delivery industry, he said allowing salons and barber shops to deliver services at home will minimise crowding and congregation.
"This move will allow both salon chains and individual service professionals to cater to consumers while also earning livelihood," he said. Bhal outlined a comprehensive set of protocols for beauticians and barbers that can be followed while delivering services at home, and said professionals on its platform are following these guidelines.
"These protocols specify usage of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and gloves, mandatory use of Aarogya Setu app, daily temperature checks, single use sachets and disposables, sanitization of all tools before the service delivery, no services in containment zones, health and safety training of self-employed professionals, and payment via digital means," he said.