MP: Despite lockdown relaxations, salons wear deserted look

Bhopal, Jun 3 (PTI) Even as a few salons reopened following relaxations in the COVID-19 lockdown in Madhya Pradesh's Bhopal city, it is not business as usual for these establishments, which have had few takers.

Ever since they reopened on Monday, several high-end salons had employees sporting PPEs, while very few customers trickled in for the fear of contracting coronavirus infection.

'We have reopened our salon and informed our regular patrons through text messages that they can book appointments with us if they wished to,' said Kalyani Samal, who runs a unisex salon on Kolar Road in Bhopal.

Although barbers and beauticians at the establishment wore PPEs while working, few customers who turned up still seemed apprehensive, she said.

'Our business will take two more months to pick up,' said Samal, clarifying that rates for grooming services remained unchanged.

However, the common complaint among salon owners is that their trade required some amount of physical contact with customers, as it was not possible to cut people's hair or shave their beard without touching them.

Satyabhan Sen, who runs a small men's salon in Chunnabhatti area, said, 'We are also at risk of contracting the infection as we won't know which customer carries the virus.' It was difficult for him to make ends meet during the lockdown in the last two months, Sen said.

'However, if I don't restart my business for the fear of getting infected, then I will surely die of hunger,' he rued.

Meanwhile, for people who missed their grooming routine during the lockdown, the reopening of salons was a welcome move.

Vishal Sharma, who got his hair cut after over two months, said many salon owners were giving patrons the option of bringing their own scissors, blades and towels.

However, some people, who were still wary of stepping out of their homes despite relaxations, preferred to rely on their spouses for their grooming needs.

'My wife trimmed my hair at home. I didn't want to risk going to a barber, as the outbreak has not been contained yet,' said Gaurav Kumar, who lives near New Market.

Bhopal collector Tarun Pithode said salons have been asked to adhere to the guidelines issued by the Centre and the authorities were keeping a close watch on business establishments to make sure they follow proper protocol. PTI LAL MAS ARU ARU