'Give us a date,' hair and beauty industry tell government

18 June 2020 - 08:48 By NIVASHNI NAIR
There are about 90,000 people active in the hair and beauty sector, which is a R300bn industry.
There are about 90,000 people active in the hair and beauty sector, which is a R300bn industry.
Image: 123RF/belchonock

Minutes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday evening that the hair and beauty industry could reopen during level 3, scores of salon owners posted advertisements on social media advising clients that they would be open as early as the next day.

But the hair and beauty industry is not yet celebrating as there has been no date given as to when it can officially start operating.

The Employers Organisation for Hairdressing, Cosmetology and Beauty (EOHCB) told TimesLIVE that it was “thankful” that the government was allowing the industry to reopen but “will only rejoice once we know the effective date”.

“Any date later than next week will continue to add to the distress. We are grateful that government at last took note of our emphasis on the effect of the lockdown on the women in our industry. Continued guidance and support of all subsectors will be required to ensure save practices in the salons. The responsibility now will rest with the employers and employees in the industry,” said EOHCB national manager Cobus Grobler.

He added that the sector would reconsider its court application against the president and several ministers when the regulations and date were published.

“We know that the DA case is to return to court on June 22 and with our case on June 23, we are optimistic about the prospects for being allowed to reopen next week without having to continue to pursue the court route,” Grobler said.

Dear EOHCB Members and Industry, The President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, tonight 17 June...

Posted by EOHCB National on Wednesday, June 17, 2020

A week ago the organisation launched a court application when the director-general of the trade and industry department failed to meet a deadline to provide guidelines for salons, spas and tattoo parlours to reopen under level 3.

The organisation had previously stated that up to 70% of the country's salons, spas and tattoo parlours faced closure as their businesses remained under lockdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

There are about 90,000 people active in the hair and beauty sector, which is worth about R300bn.

Since the start of the lockdown, thousands of workers in the beauty industry poured out their desperation in submissions to the national government. They spoke of losing their rental spaces, not being able to pay staff and closing up shop.

 Some have now turned to crowdfunding platforms to put food on the table while others are working under the radar.

A salon owner in Phoenix, north of Durban, advised her clients via WhatsApp that she would reopen her business on Friday.

“We are doing a clean up today and then we will reopen on Friday. Most salons are opening on Friday,” she said.

A nail technician in Cape Town said she had already booked clients, who wanted to see her on Thursday.

“My phone started buzzing as soon as the president made the announcement. I cannot turn clients away.”