A beauty salon owner in Marsaskala warned that others in the industry need to stop complaining about COVID-19 mitigation measures, arguing that salons had the entire month to prepare.
“I have a salon. I have been prepared and everything done for a month now. Why? Because I don’t put my head in the sand and I check out other countries’ safety guidelines. We all knew this would be the same protocol,” Lisa Farrugia, owner of OJO Beauty Salon told Lovin Malta.
“I see salons complaining on social media scrambling for Perspex barriers and sanitisers. This should have been the first thing they secured. Surely they have been into supermarkets and shops? Do they think we are immune from measures?”
Even though salons were only given a work week to prepare for the reopening of beauty businesses, Farrugia said that they’ve all had a month to preempt re-opening for the end of May.
“To be honest it was unfair for authorities to announce the relaxing of measures for such a short time frame,” she said, “but you can’t just wait for measures to be announced. All those in the industry have should prepared just the same.”
“We’re in the position of risk because our businesses can be feeding grounds for the virus, and everyone is scared of going back. But what are we going to do, stay shut? Economically we can’t, I cant. We have to keep positive, implement the measures, and carry on.”
Farrugia said her salon is set to reopen its doors this Friday, with more than three quarters of regular clients already booking appointments.
“Around 80% of our clients have booked in already, whilst 20% say they’re still scared.”
While some in the industry fear that extra costs to cover sanitiser, perspex separators and personal protective equipment will hurt businesses, she said that raising prices for services is something that had to be done in the sector.
“We’ve had to put our prices up, with an extra cover of a euro for services. Our salon has already spent over €900 to prepare, and not just for the purchase sanitisers and perspex screens, but also to factor in that only one client is allowed in the salon per appointment, so we’re looking to lose three or four client a day,” she said.
“I do believe that a persistent problem in our industry is that beauty services in general are not valued enough in Malta so we tend to lower their prices to be competitive. Those with low pricing are going to struggle a lot more.”
But it’s clear that many in the industry are going to suffer, with many services like massages, facials and lash extensions not permitted when salons open tomorrow.
Since Abela hinted at the possible reopening of salons in the beginning of May, a Facebook group was set up for beauty professionals to connect, share information and support each other in an uncertain time for the industry. The group already nears 200 members.