Pointers to ensure safety infrastructure for wellness industry post lockdown

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The salons, spas, barber shops, parlours, clinics are under the lens of social distancing norms following the outbreak of COVID-19. Representative image
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New Delhi: With the global COVID-19 pandemic scourging across the nation and our daily lives, we have to cut down on a lot of things. One of the main activities taking a hit is our grooming and wellness regimen. The salons, spas, barber shops, parlours, clinics are under the lens of social distancing norms, as consumers visit them regularly to cater to their grooming and wellness requirements.

From an industry angle, the beauty and wellness segment is currently serving livelihoods of 70 lakh employees. Manpower costs being around 40% of revenues and rent being 15-20%, and zero revenue for the sixty days of lockdown, have caused distress among owners and employees. The extended lockdown will lead to large scale unemployment and significant disruption given the high proportion of migrants, say industry experts.

Adding, only safe infrastructure can assure safe processes and protocols. Safety of physical infrastructure of the salon, parlour, clinic being the first pillar, it is imperative to have the stated standards of safety and hygiene before moving to the other pillars of personnel and clientele.

A delegation of representatives of Beauty and Wellness enterprises - barber shops, beauty parlours, salons, spas, clinics recently participated in a video conference with Union MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari to highlight the plight of the industry and seek a lifeline for the 70 lakh professionals, 2/3rds women, mostly belonging to lower socio-economic and educational backgrounds. Participants in the conference represented by the likes of Oneline Wellness, YLG Salon, Enrich Salon, Lakme Salon, Kaya, Looks Salon, Hakim's Aalim, BBlunt, JCB Salons, Envi Salon, VLCC, Kapil's Salons, Juice, Bodycraft, Headmasters, AN John Salons, Naturals, Green Trends, Head Turners, Cleopatra, Vipul Chudasama Salon, Studio Profile, Beyond the Fringe and other micro and small enterprises across the country.

The representatives, requested the authorities that Beauty and Wellness enterprises -barber shops, salons, spas and clinics - should be allowed to operate with strict compliance with the health & safety guidelines issued by the Beauty & Wellness Sector Skills Council, under advise from Corona critical care unit of AIIMS and Ministry of Skill Development. The MHA should mandate stringent compliance of the guidelines across the four verticals:

» Safe usage of Infrastructure facility

» Safety of Administrative personnel

» Safety of Clientele

» Safety of Service providers

Other key relief measures the representatives sought from the minister than easing the lockdown norms included health cover for employees upto 5 lakh, and life cover upto 25 lakh, extension of GST payment and auto renewal of licensing after 12 months and measures to address the dire need to cover the liquidity crunch.

Responding to the situation, Pushkaraj Shenai, CEO, Lakme Salon said, "We have made significant investments in strong safety protocols delivered by high quality hygiene products. We have used the lockdown period to digitally train our team - right from the housekeeping staff and experts to salon managers, office teams and business partners - in these new methods to ensure complete adherence to protocols. Our 4,500 team members have also attended a cumulative 300,000 plus hours of high-quality education during the lockdown to enhance their skill and execute the highest standards of hygiene and safety. Rigorous hygiene protocols and high-quality products have always been top priorities for us at Lakme Salon. In the new normal, the safety of our team and customers is the key focus area."

In collaboration with experts and medical professionals, the Lakme Salon team has reengineered the customer experience journey across all touchpoints and developed stringent operating guidelines to ensure the highest levels of safety and hygiene for customers and staff.

The key themes are:

» Rigorous and continuous screening of salon teams and customers with the Aarogya Setu app. Clients in high risk groups will be advised not to get treatments.

» Strict social distancing through 50% staff strength and limited pre-booked appointments.

» Daily deep cleaning and regular disinfection of every touchpoint throughout the day with a biosurfactant cleaner

» Protective gear - masks, gloves, visors - for the team

» Single-use kits for 90% of services

» Revised processes for skin, hair and make-up services to reduce touch

» Biodegradable disposables

» Sterilisation of tools and equipment after every use

» Contactless billing and payments

» Contactless home delivery for post care products

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