By Christina Alpad /Manila Times
Citizens who have endured uneven haircuts, razor burns and long gray roots for the last two months under strict quarantine measures can finally hope to bid the shabby man — or woman — in the mirror goodbye.
In line with the relaxed restrictions under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ (MGCQ) across most parts of the country beginning today, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez announced that barber shops and salons could reopen on June 7.
Previously excluded from industry categories allowed to reopen under more relaxed protocols, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and the Department of Trade and Industry were compelled to re-assess their decision following pleas from certain groups that hairdressers and their assistants need to reboot their livelihoods.
“We need to start making a living again. And many have also been asking us when they can get haircuts under GCQ, ” said a neighbourhood barber in an interview with Manila Times.
In previous guidelines, barber shops and salons were the only businesses under Category 3 singled out from resuming operations under MECQ.
The IATF-EID, however, indicated they were under review for GCQ.
“We are allowing the gradual opening (of barbershops and salons) at 30% operating capacity starting June 7 in GCQ areas and 50% operating capacity under MGCQ areas,” Lopez said.
The DTI chief was quick to remind business operators that they must strictly comply with health protocol standards, which include the use of face masks at all times, constant checking of the temperature, regular disinfection, monitoring of worker’s symptoms via daily submissions of completed health questionnaires and the implementation of physical distancing among workers and clients.
“Earlier opening was reconsidered in recognition of the very strict health protocol that was developed and to be adopted before they can be allowed to operate, to prevent any risk of Covid-19 transmission; as well as the need to start bringing back the jobs of the estimated 400,000 workers in the industry working in over 35,000 shops,” Jimenez said.
The secretary also clarified there was no need for business accreditations “to remove any bureaucracy in opening,” but reminded owners that operation audits will be implemented.
Non-compliance will subsequently result in the closing down of erring establishments until deficiencies are corrected.
Welcome permission Via Facebook Messenger, barber shop owners Austin Asprec and Khristine Pecson told Manila Times that they welcome this development under MECQ and GCQ. Independent shopowners, the two run the modest, A Barbershop on Maginhawa Street, Quezon City with six employees, two receptionists and four barbers.
Since closing mid-March the business partners admitted they were only able to give their employees relief goods since their three year-old barber shop relies on day-to-day earnings for salaries. All the same, they confessed they are worried about risks of contracting the coronavirus.
“On the business side, we want to open but healthwise, we are wary of opening,” Asprec said. “But then again, we have barbers begging us to return to work again,” he added.
Pecson assured Manila Times they are ready to follow government guidelines and will do their best to protect the health and safety of employees and clients.
The Manila Times also checked with two establishments, servicing different markets, if they are indeed ready to comply with government guidelines.
In a newsletter sent to its customers earlier this month, Piandre Salon — a chain of high-end salons with 14 company-owned branches nationwide — said it has already adjusted its operations based on the requirements of the IATF-EID and the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s recommendation on salon disinfecting agents, in addition to their longstanding internal protocol on health and safety.
The usual snacks or drinks served during client visits will be discontinued, and most importantly, the salon encourages bookings to be made beforehand since they will neither allow walk-ins or waiting at any given day. Finally, facials, make-up and body massage services are suspended indefinitely.
Reyes Haircutters — a mass-market salon with over 100 branches nationwide — has also released guidelines on its Facebook page for their new normal operations.
Like Piandre, it encourages booking in advance and following minimum health protocols such as the use of masks, temperature checks and disinfection before entering a branch.
Additionally, except for minors, no companions will be allowed inside the salon.
Cash payments and tips can only be handed through trays provided for the customers, and the establishment will also encourage a “less talk” policy inside their premises.
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