Beauty is back: industry can reopen as Covid-19 regulations are unveiled
Don’t be surprised if your favourite hairdresser is less chatty when you finally return to the salon.
That's because small business development minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni wants them to limit interaction with clients.
Ntshavheni gazetted directions for the industry on Friday following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Wednesday that salons can open under “advanced level 3" of the Covid-19 lockdown.
Businesses that can reopen with immediate effect include hairdressers, barbers, nail bars, beauty parlours, tattooists and body piercers.
But the move comes with a string of safety regulations.
“Employees and owners above the age of 60 or with co-morbidities must be discouraged from working,” said Ntshavheni.
“Any owner/worker and customer who has flu-like symptoms must not be allowed to work or to enter the salon.”
Business owners have been instructed to “maintain a register of customers and persons who enter the salon on each day for traceability”. They should also “use a booking system for treatment appointments”. Salacious salon gossip may be thing of the past, as “no guests are allowed”.
In the past, customers were treated to beverages and snacks while they waited their turn. “Suspend the provision of all beverage and food amenities for customers,” Ntshavheni’s instructions say.
Business owners also have to go an extra mile on hygiene. They must clean their basins after each client and “the basin area must be deep cleaned at the end of each business day”.
The businesses must have a hand sanitising/handwashing station for customers before they enter the business premises.
“(They must) wash hands with fresh warm water and soap/sanitise hands before and after serving a client,” the gazette reads. “(They must) sanitise/wash hands after handling cash and encourage contactless payment where possible.”
Each piece of equipment must be sanitised or washed before and after use. “All bottles with products must be wiped down with a 70% alcohol solution after serving each customer and at the end and beginning of each business day,” Ntshavheni said.
“Fresh and clean towels must be used for each customer and keep windows/doors open, if possible, to ensure adequate ventilation.
“The stylist must also wear a face shield/visor that must be cleaned after serving each customer. “The mask must be worn as per the guidelines of the department of health. No customer will be served without wearing a mask.
“Aprons must be changed after serving each customer and reuse can only be done after the apron has been washed with water and soap. Where gloves are required for treatments, they should be changed after each client and should not be shared under any conditions.”
Ntshavheni urges business owners to “encourage pre-booking appointments to avoid long queues and waiting periods. Queuing customers must maintain 1.5m distance between each other; salons must only allow customers inside if the 1.5m distance can be maintained; and 1.5m distances must be clearly marked/demarcated at waiting areas.”
The DA and co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma are embroiled in a legal spat over the beauty industry in the high court in Cape Town.
The opposition party has hauled Dlamini-Zuma before court over what it has termed “irrational and unconstitutional ban on personal care services”.
“This is an important case for the DA but also for the hundreds of thousands of South Africans that have had their livelihoods shattered by the inaction of government to set in place health regulations that will allow hairdressers, beauticians and tattoo artists to operate in a safe environment for them and their customers,” DA MP and spokesperson on trade and industry Dean Macpherson said in a statement.
“The DA looks forward to this opportunity to hopefully get these hardworking men and women in the personal care industry back to work so that they too can keep a roof over their head and put food on their table.”
On Friday, Macpherson said Dlamini-Zuma had failed to file opposing papers in the Cape Town high court.
“The DA welcomes the long and overdue regulations paving the way for the personal care industry to reopen. That it has taken so long, a looming court date and the tales of so many who have lost so much is one of the biggest tragedies of this lockdown,” he said.
He said personal care providers would now be able to operate with immediate effect subject to health protocols.
“From the very outset, the DA warned the government that its indefinite ban on the personal care industry, which employs hundreds of thousands of people in hair salons, beauty stores and tattoo parlours, was unconstitutional and illegal,” said Macpherson.
“Minister Dlamini-Zuma has a lot to answer for. She has played fast and loose with the livelihoods of people across the country by criminalising people who just wanted to keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table.
“For many, these regulations and reopening of the industry are too late. Dlamini-Zuma’s contempt for court, after missing two imposed deadlines for filing of opposing papers in our case speaks volumes, and highlights the disdain she has for the judiciary as well as the hardworking men and women of this country.
“The DA is glad this painful battle is over for those that work in the personal care industry. However, we will continue to hold Dlamini-Zuma accountable for her actions and inactions during this lockdown.”