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By Theresa Goodwin

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Beauticians are looking forward to reopening for business on Monday – while acknowledging that significant changes in the way they work are needed to safeguard their own health and their clients’.

Barbers, hairdressers and nail technicians are among the latest businesses which will be allowed to operate after government announced a further relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions.

However, they must abide by strict rules with the entire process becoming far less sociable. This includes all staff and clients wearing facemasks during appointments. Customers must keep six feet apart from each other and operators must not mingle closely together.

Ministry of Health officials and business owners will be working together to fine tune additional guidelines recommended by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

While the measures are in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus, personal hygiene and maintaining a clean environment are standard practice for business owners who spoke to Observer on Thursday.

Kezreen Ettechson Ladoo, owner of Kez Beauty, said she encouraged fellow beauticians to implement precautionary measures at their salons weeks ago so they were ready when given the green light to reopen.

Ladoo said prior to the virus outbreak, clients were not allowed to bring anyone including children with them to the salon unless previously agreed, and clients with flu-like symptoms were also advised to cancel appointments ahead of time.

These and other measures will be further enforced come Monday, she said.

“Once the client visits the salon they will be required to take off their shoes and sanitise their feet before they step on the carpet. They will also have to wash their hands and will be advised not to handle their phones or other devices during the period,” Ladoo explained.

“When they are at the nail station we will do a secondary handwashing. There is also a barrier at the table to separate the client and myself. I also have a face shield that will cover my face while I am wearing the mask. Face masks will also be available for sale to customers who are without,” Ladoo explained.

Cosmetologist and massage therapist Anita Wright said after completing an intense online course on sanitisation in the workplace she is now more than ready to resume work.

Wright explained that she learnt the importance of specific hygiene tasks.

“We have to also sanitise between clients, cleaning the chairs and stations. Using fresh sets of tools for each client. Store used tools in a closed container. Provide and use disposable towels for washing hands and sanitise work stations often,” Wright said.

She also reiterated the importance of wearing face masks noting that, “a sneeze travels 100 miles per hour with 4,000 droplets and can go as far as 26 feet, while a cough travels 50 miles per hour with 3,000 droplets.”

For local barber Alden Campbell, thorough cleaning is part of his regular routine.

“I normally have a huge bench outside the entrance of the shop where my clients can sit apart. I have always had a wash basin also inside for hand washing and in between cuts and for my clients. Now I will be getting a bottle with 70 percent alcohol for sanitising purposes, but I believe that the handwashing method is best,” said Campbell, who has over 30 years of experience in the field.

Another barber, Pete Wiggan, told Observer that hygiene measures are par for the course.

He said his establishment is big enough to accommodate a few patrons, however he will be limiting the number of people who can wait inside. His three barber stations are spaced more than six feet apart, he explained.

A handwashing solution will also be placed at the entrance of the shop for customers, in addition to a wash area inside.

“I am a stickler for cleanliness and this is always my practice which I enforce on a daily basis with customers and everyone who enters the shop and it will not be a difficult thing to maintain,” Wiggan said.

While he is optimistic about returning to work, the businessman added that he will feel more comfortable once the virus crisis has passed.

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