The Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh has likely become the first district in the country on Friday to reopen hair salons and beauty parlours in adherence with safety norms amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The reopening will doubtless provide a much-needed boost to one of the most most affected industries in the country during all phases of the lockdown.
Customers and hair stylists were found breaching the lockdown at many salons and also ended up contracting coronavirus in MP including at Khargone, where an infected customers spread the virus to six others.
However at Mandla, which is a green zone, the administration allowed men’s salons and beauty parlours to reopen but with certain restrictions.
With Covid-19 looming large in the state and elsewhere, hair stylists have been asked by the administration to follow certain safety norms to make sure their outlets don’t contribute to the outbreak as they go about with their daily business.
As soon as these outlets reopened on Friday, customers made a beeline outside awaiting their turn for much awaited grooming in the city.
When the customer arrives at the parlours, their hands must be sanitised and the professionals are using protective gear which covers most of their bodies.
The customers must wear masks compulsorily and social distancing has been instructed at these outlets by the administration, said one salon owner.
While offering services, the professionals are required to use fresh fabric every time and the face of the customers must be wiped with a paper napkin as opposed to the fabric used by barbers in the past, said another salon owner Pravin Sriwas.
Instead of shaving foam which is applied with one's hands on the face of the customer, shaving cream is advised by the administration which has to be applied with the help of a shaving brush.
After serving every customer the seats, tools and other equipment are to be sanitised. The shops are also to be sanitised persistently in working hours.
The professionals are also required to keep basic personal data of their customers which includes services they availed at the outlet, their names and complete address and mobile number. These outlets have been warned of legal action in case of violation of these norms and are strictly asked to maintain proper social distancing at their shops.
One of the customers, Alok Dixit expressed happiness over re-opening of these outlets saying it was quite problematic during summer to keep his hair long. "We are feeling safe after safety norms are ordered by the administration," Abhinav Sihare, another customer, said while waiting in queue at a salon.
However, with added safety norms, the charges at these outlets have gone up and professionals have revised their service charges by around 30%. The professionals are also required to dispose used items by burning them daily.
District collector Jagdish Chandra Jatiya said that the administration has issued these orders for opening of such outlets taking into consideration the convenience of the public.
(With inputs from Krishna Sahu)