Lives more important than looks, hairdressers say as nine in 10 refuse to reopen

The Malaysian Hairdressing Association said today that 91 per cent of its members did not agree to resume their businesses during the MCO period, citing safety issues, among others. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
The Malaysian Hairdressing Association said today that 91 per cent of its members did not agree to resume their businesses during the MCO period, citing safety issues, among others. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — The Malaysian Hairdressing Association (MHA) said today that 91 per cent of its members did not agree to resume their businesses during the movement control order (MCO) period, citing safety issues, among others.

In a statement today, MHA said it had conducted a survey to gauge its members’ response after Putrajaya relaxed restrictions on several sectors following the extended MCO, including barber shops and hairdressers.

“It is impossible to maintain a distance of one metre during haircutting. Both the customer and the hairdresser are in a state of being easily infected by the virus,” it said in a statement.

“Haircut should not be listed as a necessary essential service, no matter long hair or short hair, the most important thing for now is to stay alive. The purpose of the movement control order is to save people’s lives, not their appearance.”

It also called on Putrajaya to revoke any permit awarded to any hair salons to resume business during the MCO. 

MHA said that apart from the risks of a greater infection, robbers might start targeting hair salons too, along with increased traffic on the roads, troubling the police to control the public and lead to another extension of the MCO.

MHA also lamented that if the Covid-19 outbreak affects the hairdressing sector, it would also affect customers’ confidence towards hair salons.

It said that should hair salon employees contract the virus in the course of work, employers would have to foot all the cost of their treatment bills, which would prove to be a constraint.

“This is a very unprotected situation, because during this critical period, the process of hair cutting is equally as high-risk work as medical staff, and it is a zero-distancing service process, which should not be ignored.

“The government should consider giving a high level of protection before deciding whether to approve the hairdressing industry to resume business during this restriction of movement control order period of time,” it added.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said today measures taken in the first and second phase of the MCO should be maintained, and any move to loosen it should be delayed for now.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah urged for operations of certain sectors, such as barbers, to be postponed first in the next one week until data confirms that the country has recovered.

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