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Jakartans return to hair salons in ‘new normal’

Jessicha Valentina
Jessicha Valentina

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, June 24, 2020  /  09:31 am
Jakartans return to hair salons in ‘new normal’

A worker cleans a hair-washing chair in a salon located in South Tangerang, Banten. (JP/Jessicha Valentina)

This article is part of The Jakarta Post’s "Forging the New Norm" series about how people are adjusting to the new realities of COVID-19 in Indonesia.

In the pre-coronavirus days, many considered a trip to the hair salon a leisure activity. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has made visiting a salon no longer just a walk in the park.

Natasha Jessica, PR manager of photography service SweetEscape, had to postpone her grooming schedule during the imposition of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) beginning in Jakarta on April 10.

As the Jakarta administration eased the partial lockdown early this month and shopping malls had begun to reopen on June 15, Natasha made an appointment at her favorite salon in South Jakarta as she was more than ready to part with her long hair.

Natasha told The Jakarta Post she was initially worried about visiting a salon but after perusing the salon’s safety protocols she decided to give it a go.

During her visit, she discovered that only 50 percent of the salon area was occupied but it was filled with customers. All staff members wore face shields and masks.

However, the experience was a tad different compared to the pre-coronavirus days. "I usually interact with the staff [and] chat with the hairstylist," she said, adding that since the staff wore protective gear, she found it difficult to communicate with them. But she understood that it was necessary to wear the protection.  

In an interview on June 5, L'Oréal Indonesia president director Umesh Phadke said the COVID-19 outbreak had greatly affected the salon industry as around 90 percent of salons in Indonesia closed.

During the imposition of PSBB, the company teamed up with hair salons to offer an in-home service called LPEXPERT@YOURHOME. The service also aimed to help hairdressers earn an income.

But as salons reopened, the number of LPEXPERT@YOURHOME services was reduced as people were excited to visit hair salons with the new protocols in place. Although many have adapted to the idea of grooming at home, Phadke saw that hairstylist services could never be replaced.

Read also: COVID-19: What makes hairdressing 'essential'? Even the hairdressers want to close

In the transitional period, Salon Industry Communities and Entrepreneurs (KIPS) and L’Oreal Indonesia prepared the COVID-19 prevention protocols for salon businesses, referring to Jakarta Tourism and Creative Economy Agency Regulation No. 131/2020 and the Health Ministry’s official instructions.

Similar to other businesses, the protocols require hair salons to conduct health screenings, apply physical distancing measures and clean and disinfect all areas.

It also suggests hair salons refrain from receiving walk-in guests and limit the duration of services to a maximum of 120 minutes.

L'Oréal Indonesia professional product division general manager Michael Justisoesetya said in a statement that the company and KIPS were working to ensure that all stakeholders understood the protocols by distributing them through various communication channels. So far, they had hosted two-session webinars, supported by the Jakarta administration and the Health Ministry, which were attended by thousands of salon owners across Indonesia.

“We strive to maximize online training under the three Professional Products Division brands, [namely L’Oréal Professionnel, Matrix and Kerastase],” he said. He added that they had also conducted online training for hairdressers via the L'Oréal Access app and that the program had reached over 5,000 salons in Indonesia with the majority of those located in Jakarta.

Hairdresser Budiman, who works for a salon in SCBD, South Jakarta, said he had become familiar with the new protocols. During the PSBB, Budiman offered in-home services and he became familiar with the routine of disinfecting and cleaning all his tools before and after attending to a customer.

Renowned hairdresser Rudy Hadisuwarno, who is also a KIPS representative, said they would continue to take preventive measures against the possibility of local transmission in the salon industry by conducting intensive and strict supervision. (wng)

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