After Prime Minister Robert Abela’s announcement that hair salons will be allowed to reopen by the end of the week, hairdressers have already been bombarded with requests for appointments.
Hairstylist Mauro Kitcher said he’s already booked up to three weeks in advance, despite measures yet to be announced.
“When the Prime Minister said that by the end of May he wants to ease more measures, the clients freaked out and everyone wanted to get that first appointment,” Kitcher said.
Another owner of a popular salon said she’s received over 150 messages from clients since Sunday.
But some in the industry are concerned about being left in the dark.
“The situation puts us in an uncomfortable position, because we still need to wait until the next press conference to make appointments. They think that I don’t want to put them in and thats not the case,” Kitcher said.
“In fact, had to write on Facebook that I am listing the clients on first come first served basis, so when the Prime Minister gives us the go ahead, I will call them myself one by one to fix their appointment.”
But not all in the beauty industry are keen on reopening so soon.
“I find it very ridiculous for unreliable news sources to comment on what the Prime Minister said in an interview, giving clients hope that we are opening in a week, making everyone text on a Sunday expecting an appointment immediately,” the salon owner who received 150 messages said.
“Also, as no directives have been pointed out in a government press conference, most of us business owners stuck in limbo on how we should open as we are reading very different theories online, one contradicting the other on how we should go about it.”
And questions on how to keep safe in the face of the COVID-19 crisis still poses major concern.
“COVID-19 cases are rising again thus more people having one-on-one contact in an enclosed area might increase contamination, as many people do not care about social distancing, especially if they are going to be desperate to come to a salon to do their hair,” one hairdresser said.
Lastly, the issue of increased expenses for health precautions means hair salons need financial support even if opening is permitted.
“I feel the government should be helping us financially if we are meant to sanitise our salon more frequently,” a hairdresser said.
“If we have to create separators for each station and buy other things to safeguard against cross contamination, these are added expenses for us which will run into the thousands. Meanwhile, we will be opening at a slower pace and receiving fewer clients; this is not going to match our income.”
“People think it’s going to go back to how it was, but it’s not. We can’t re-use gowns, we’ll need sanitisers, disposable towels, separators, all of which cost money. Plus, we won’t be able to have more than one client at a time, so we will feel the pinch,” another owner said.
Abela is expected to provide details on the reopening of hair salons as well as restaurants later today.