Customers had to wear masks and get thermal screening before entry
MUMBAI: All too eager to put behind their disasters with corona cuts and hot wax, Mumbaikars queued up at salons that opened on Sunday after nearly three months. Clients were welcomed with thermal scanners, consent forms and rigorous sanitisation. While the big brands opened to full appointments, the rush of customers found standalone salons grappling with staff shortage.
“The response has been overwhelming and extremely positive. We are completely booked for the coming days. The clients who visited today have been happy with the enhanced service protocols and detailed measures implemented for their safety in the new environment,” said Pushkaraj Shenai, CEO, Lakme Lever.
At the Lakme Salon in Hiranandani Estate in Thane, seven customers had taken appointments for day one.
Clients were expected to fill up a consent form before they came in, staff checked their status on the Arogya Setu app on arrival and seats were sanitised before use. The salon is using disposable kits for each client.
Shreya Karangutkar, a finance professional who visited the salon on Sunday to colour her hair, said, “I had found out about the safety protocol that was being followed before I came to the salon. As a working professional, grooming services were essential.”
Most salons have resumed only hair and waxing services. Malad-based Glam factor catered to 12 clients on Sunday of which men outnumbered women. “The moment we posted about the salon opening on Sunday, we were inundated with responses. All our slots were full for the first day. After three months people are eager to have their hair cut or coloured,” said Farah Siddique, co-owner of the salon. Similarly, at Beyond the Mirror salon in Thane, out of the nine clients who came in, six were men who wanted a haircut. “We have ordered PPE kits and thermal scanners. We will then begin offering threading and other services,” said co-owner, Vandana Sharma. The salon is using only three of its six chairs to maintain social distance. At Archana Haria’s Splash Salon, Ghatkopar (E) haircut, colour and threading were the most popular services availed by the nearly 25 clients who visited.
However, several standalone barber shops in various parts of the city did not open up on Sunday. Some salons couldn’t resume services at full strength. Babbu Siddiqui, part of the managing staff at Wellington Hair Dressing Hall, Dhobi Talao, said business was slow, but he expected it to pick up soon. “We usually have about a dozen staffers, but due to the lockdown many have returned home. Currently, we have to manage with just three staffers. We expect the others to return soon. Considering all the disposable items we have to use for safety and sanitisation, the price of a haircut has gone up to Rs 150 from Rs 100.” While the government’s notification listed out the kind of services that can be offered, salons said there was no clarity on the timings of operations.
Home salon services resumed on Sunday too. Mukund Kulashekaran, SVP, Beauty and Wellness, Urban Company said that many of their loyal customers came back on day one. “Haircuts for men and basic services like waxing and threading are popular. Over the coming weeks, we expect to recover over 50% of our pre Covid-19 business as more of loyal users come back to get haircuts and basic beauty services,” he added.