HAIRDRESSERS and spa owners said the new Covid-19 restrictions will put an additional strain on their businesses once again as they are faced with a second lockdown on their trade.
The Express spoke to a several owners from the beauty industry who have been affected by the restrictions, which is currently in effect until May 23.
Nadia Mohammed, owner of Nadia’s Unisex Salon in Trincity Mall, said the decision made by the Government was a bit rushed as salons and spas have invested a great deal of money in products for Mother’s Day.
“I’ve already paid for advertisements in the print and radio media to advertise promotions and gift certificate for Mother’s Day. I don’t understand why the emphasis is so hard on salons and spas, when so far we have not heard of anyone contracting the deadly virus in these spaces. The hairdressers who are in malls pay exorbitant rent, so who is paying our rent when we are close for three weeks,” Mohammed lamented.
Kerry Mohammed, owner of KOR Salon and Spa at Gaston Court, Lange Park, Chaguanas, shared the same sentiments as Mohammed that there has been no record of Covid cases coming from beauty dispensaries or spas.
“All aestheticians and cosmetologists have been trained to deal with, not only virus, but bacteria that may be present in salons as they are dealing with patients on a daily basis. Sanitisation is the first chapter of the cosmetology protocols ensuring a safe environment for beauticians and their customers.”
Mohammed said many salons and spas specifically, and small business owners generally, are facing financial and survival issues with daily overhead expenses, assistants depending on a daily/weekly income that needs to be met.
Across at Bally’s hair salon in Woodbrook, owner Ashvin Bally said while he was not totally surprised by the move, it was sudden.
“This is going to be tough on my staff of eight as some are single parents and not getting an income for three weeks is going to be difficult. What the Government should look at doing is have the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force and special reserve officers come out and try to manage the number of persons on the streets until the numbers decrease, therefore some businesses would not always have to feel the brunt,” Bally said.
And, Dominique McDeigan, owner of Youniquespot in Woodbrook, said while it would be hard for her, as this is a second lockdown being experienced, she agrees with the Government 100 per cent, as the numbers are overly high and need to be brought back to manageable level.
“Even though most salons operate by appointments only, we still have to remember health and well-being of all our customers,” McDeigan said.
Hard on all
Antoinette Maund, owner of Oor Jou Spa Wellness at Victoria Square, Port of Spain, said she fully supports the move by the Government at this time and everyone just has to adhere to the regulations in order to see a turnaround quickly.
“This second lockdown is going to be hard on all businesses, but we have to rally through as this is a pandemic and we have to pray and hope there is no further extension of the restrictions, because that will be devastating,” Maund added.
Owner of L’mage Parfaite Spa located on Park Street, Port of Spain, Roxanne Hepburn, said even though the Government indicated that it did not have the money to help businesses like last year, any kind of financial help will be greatly appreciated.
“Even though we are closed for the three weeks all the bills still have to be paid. I’m urging people to be responsible so that the numbers can decrease, because when numbers go up businesses are affected,” Hepburn said.
Supermarkets no rush
Supermarkets Association president Rajiv Diptee says there was no mad rush at the country’s supermarkets yesterday, as was experienced on Thursday following the introduction of a raft of stricter Covid-19 public health regulations by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
Diptee said he got no calls from any of his members that police had to be called in to control the crowds.
He said on Thursday evening the association had to issue a notice telling customers not flock to supermarkets as they were remaining open until their normal closing times.
He noted that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) will be out in full force to manage the weekend crowds at groceries and supermarkets.
Diptee added the TTPS will work closely with SATT to address any issue of clusters at supermarkets generally, including gatherings that may be deemed high-risk where transmission of the virus is concerned.