By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
Barbers and beauty salons yesterday voiced optimism that the government may allow them to re-open before end-June even though several operators have already decided to close permanently.
Dellarese Taylor, the Bahamian Cosmetologists and Barbers Association’s president, told Tribune Business that implementing the necessary COVID-19 protections were likely to cost operators significant funds as they worked to rearrange their businesses to comply with social distancing.
“We are just waiting to reopen so everything could be super sailing and everybody can just follow the protocols,” said Ms Taylor. “Everybody has been working and putting things in place now. Those who are going back into the salons, they are trying to share up and divide the space to ensure everybody is not working too close to each other. You weren’t making any money, but now it is going to cost you a lot of money to go back and make a lot of changes.”
She added: “We have at least six persons who contacted me personally to tell me that they have closed down permanently, but it could be more. These are the people who contacted me personally.
“Our membership is about 100 persons, and I know for sure I have two persons from my association that have told me that they have closed permanently. The majority of them were booth renters, and then some people were able to hold it down because they were not the only breadwinner in the household.
“Everybody else in my membership now is still stable, then some people just downsized. The booth renters really help pay rent, and then if they are unable to pay their rent because they didn’t have any income to continue the booth rentals, some people were forced to downsize their business,” Ms Taylor continued.
“Some businesses have already closed down, some people have already downsized, and you have a lot of people that have moved home to a home-based business. Some people would have to go into doing their business mobile and, because of the overhead expense, they had no other choice but to close down. A lot of landlords were not working with a lot of the salons, and they didn’t want to carry on that expense.”
The prime minister, in announcing that the government is moving into “phase three” of its COVID-19 re-opening, yesterday told barbers and beauty salons to make sure they were prepared. “I assure restaurant operators, hair salons and barber shops that we are working with the National COVID-19 Coordination Committee and industry partners to finalise protocols for operations,” he said.
Ms Taylor said she was focused on ensuring her membership obtains the Ministry of Health infection control certificate that is mandatory for persons in the hair and cosmetics industry. She said training was going well and “everybody needs their certificate from the Ministry of Health to get back into their salons”.
“You just have to sit the online class and, once you are in the beauty industry, everybody has to sit the class in order to get back in their salons,” Ms Taylor added. “This is for the reopening. You have to have it, it is mandatory as it comes from the Ministry of Health.”