Salons and beauty parlours struggle to survive in Coronavirus.
After the government announced a lockdown due to the pandemic, barbers were also affected by the immediate chaos. Since people had to maintain strict social distance, barbers had no option as their nature of job was to be in close proximity to the people.
“People were so scared because of Covid that very few people were coming to our salon. Even after using sanitizers, our business went into loss because of Covid. I use sanitizers, wear gloves and masks, then only we start our work these days,” said Shadab Ali, a barber in the Vijayanagar area.
“I was not able to go to the barber shop because the Corona and lockdown was at peak, so I had no other option but to grow my hair more. After keeping the hair long for such a long time I started liking my hair and I didn’t cut it then. I then used to keep different hairstyles and avoided going to the barber shop altogether. I felt safe at that point to avoid barber shops due to rising Covid cases,” said P Naveen, a software engineer.
Jenny, an employee working in Turn style salon said that around 30% of the people now come in their salon as compared to the pre-lockdown days.
“I have been working here for 10 years. I was here only in the lockdown. I had booked the salon here in Bangalore. I had given the advance amount 2 days before the lockdown after which it was closed. My money was stuck in this and I had to borrow the money for this saloon. The situation is not so good these days as there are very few clients. The advance was given to the building owner and the money is stuck with him. The shop is on rent. Somehow, I managed these days. I had to take out a loan for the rent. Now also I am paying the loan amount. I even got the penalty from the bank for not paying the loan amount. I talked to my owner regarding charging us rent when the saloon was not even open. He replied by saying that this is all by the government. Though the government had waived off the rent but my owner didn’t pass the benefit to us. He charged us half for the 3 months,” said Shadab Ali.
Jenny said that she hadn’t paid the rent of her house in the lockdown. She thanked the owner for adjusting her rent and providing her food.
Naveen Kumar also faced the similar problem of not being able to pay the rent of his house for 4 months. He thanked his owner for waiving his rent off for 2 months. Though the owner of his salon didn’t give him respite and despite being closed in the lockdown he had to pay the rent amount.
Shadab Ali said that after the reopening of his salon the electricity bill was increased. Naveen Kumar questioned his owner for charging the electricity bill even when the salon was closed.
Shadab Ali said that even after using sanitizers, his business went into loss because of Covid. He uses sanitizers, wears gloves and masks then only they start their work now. He feels that his expenses were raised because of sanitizers and clients were also reduced because of Covid.
“I have a very big family and I manage all the expenses through this salon only. I married just before the lockdown. We faced problems in the lockdown so my wife also had to work to manage our expenses,” said Shadab.
Naveen Kumar said that he had no work to do except for eating food in lockdown. He feels that people are still in fear of Corona. He sometimes gets scared when people talk about another lockdown being enforced in the near future.
The Pulakeshinagar Savitha Samaja is the barbers’ association in the Frazer Town area in Bengaluru. They say that they are facing financial problems because they have to keep the shop closed, even as they continue to pay rent for both the shop and their home.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had announced a Covid relief package of Rs 1,610 crore on the lines of PM Samman Nidhi. A one-time compensation of Rs 5,000 was announced to be given to barbers who had lost their livelihood due to the lockdown. Around 2.3 lakh barbers were expected to benefit from the package. According to the statistics of the Department of Labour, only 2,749 barbers have received the package.
According to the Mint, home services startup Urban Company, formerly UrbanClap, has reported a 103% year-on-year rise in revenue to Rs 216 crore in 2019-2020 on account of demand in its beauty and wellness vertical.
After lockdown measures were eased in several districts last year, Urban Company saw its demand picking up for home-based salon services. Not everyone was rushing to salons while the pandemic was still a real threat and so they had no other option but to rely on these services.