First haircut/ facial since MCO: What to expect when salons reopen this Wednesday

Genttouch Barbershop's Mohd Shahrin Saimin demonstrates how to clean one's tools as per standard operating procedures in Ampang June 7, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Genttouch Barbershop's Mohd Shahrin Saimin demonstrates how to clean one's tools as per standard operating procedures in Ampang June 7, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 — It’s been nearly three months and you’re likely buzzed about the reopening of hair salons from June 10 onwards.

Getting a professional haircut or any hair treatment since March 18 when the movement control order (MCO) took effect will never be the same again. So what can you expect your barber or hairdresser to do? And how should you behave to keep yourself safe from catching Covid-19?

Based on information issued by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry on its website yesterday, here’s our takeaway of the SOPs as well as the dos-and-don’ts for hair salons, beauty salons and their customers. 

1. Operating hours

Hair salons can operate from 8am to 11pm, but customers can only be present from 9am to 10pm.

Only hair salons that are registered with local authorities can operate.

2. Can you just walk in?

Genttouch Barbershop workers Muhammad Aidilfikri Zahari (left) and Mohd Shahrin Saimin (centre) demonstrate how to clean one's tools as per standard operating procedures in Ampang June 7, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Genttouch Barbershop workers Muhammad Aidilfikri Zahari (left) and Mohd Shahrin Saimin (centre) demonstrate how to clean one's tools as per standard operating procedures in Ampang June 7, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

Generally, the ministry’s SOP encourages hair salons to accept customers who have made appointments, and states that walk-in customers are only allowed if there are no other customers in the store.

But if you happen to be in the two high-risk groups as either a child aged below 12 or as a senior citizen aged 60 and above, it is compulsory for you to make appointments and visit the hair salon when there are no other visitors from other age groups present.

If the customer getting a haircut is aged below 12, the child’s parent is allowed to be present but with the condition that they wear personal protective equipment such as face masks and disposable aprons. 

If you are aged 60 and above, the SOP states that your visit to hair salons should be kept to between 9am and 11am.

3. Ok, you are ready to go in, but...

Hair salons have to screen every customer before allowing them to enter the salon, with those having a body temperature of 37.5ºC or more to be denied entry.

Hair salons have to record the temperature of each customer in a registration book, with hand sanitisers to be prepared and for compulsory use before and after the touching of the registration book. The ministry encourages the use of the government’s MySejahtera app to record the name and phone numbers of customers for easy contact tracing.

It is also a must for all customers to wear a face mask while they are in the salon.

4. How to be a responsible customer

You should always practise social distancing by keeping at a safe distance of one metre from other customers when waiting for your turn and when you enter the hair salon.

You can expect to see the seats for haircuts placed at least two metres apart from the next seat, in line with the ministry’s SOP.

Besides following instructions for social distancing, you should also wear a face mask and a disposable apron, practise cough etiquette and always ensure hand hygiene by using hand sanitisers.

Only get ready for your haircut after your hairdresser disinfects the seat and haircut tools.

5. Hair cut time!

Genttouch Barbershop's Mohd Shahrin Saimin gives a demonstration of the standard operating procedures for barbers in Ampang June 7, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Genttouch Barbershop's Mohd Shahrin Saimin gives a demonstration of the standard operating procedures for barbers in Ampang June 7, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

For hairdressers, it is a must for them to wear a face mask at all times and to use a new set of gloves when giving a haircut to a different customer. Hairdressers are encouraged to use face shields and disposable gowns.

For customers, they should wear face masks, while wearing a disposable haircut apron or cape during the haircut is a must.

Towels cannot be shared for customers and the maximum time for each haircut session is one hour.

After each haircut, the hairdresser has to wash hands with soap or hand sanitiser and use new gloves, with all disposable items such as apron, gloves, gowns to be thrown into a covered rubbish bin.

Just like before the haircut, hairdressers who have finished giving a haircut to customers are required to disinfect the seat and tools such as scissors and comb.

6. What about other services?

Activities that are banned are ear cleaning, trimming of nostrils hair, massaging of head, shoulder or body at hair salons.

In the SOPs applicable to hair salons and beauty salons, these other services are allowed and with sessions also limited to one hour: hair wash, shaving of sideburns, moustaches and beards, hairdressing, hair treatment, manicure, pedicure, facials or facial treatments, eyelash services.

The procedures for the allowed services are similar to that for haircuts, with all equipment to be disinfected before and after services are provided, and with no sharing of towels allowed and with each customer required to wear disposable aprons or capes.

Slightly different here is that it is compulsory for employees to wear face shields at all times and a new set of gloves when providing services to a new customer with disposable gowns encouraged, unlike for haircuts where face shield is merely encouraged.

7. How should you pay?

Like everywhere else, cashless methods are encouraged.

8. What the hair salon operator has to do

Genttouch Barbershop workers demonstrates how to clean one's tools as per the standard operating procedures in Ampang June 7, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Genttouch Barbershop workers demonstrates how to clean one's tools as per the standard operating procedures in Ampang June 7, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

For your ease of mind and safety as a customer, the SOP requires multiple measures that hair salon operators have to do, including giving a briefing to employees, encouraging employees to use the MySejahtera app, and ensuring sufficient lighting and ventilation at premises.

Hair salon operators also have to prepare equipment such as face masks, gloves, disposable aprons, infrared handheld thermometers, disinfectants, plans for customer appointments, and plans for customer records either manually or via the MySejahtera app.

Covid-19 tests are only required for foreign staff if the government gives such instructions.

Strict screening of hair salon staff is required every day, with body temperature to be recorded daily, with only those who are free from fever or any Covid-19 symptoms — such as coughing, sore throat or breathing difficulties — to be allowed entry.

Those who are not allowed to work at all are: close contact to Covid-19 cases or patient under investigation (PUI) or person under surveillance (PUS) for Covid-19.

Hair salons have to carry out cleaning and disinfection thrice a day at public places such as counters, doorknobs, chairs and tables at the waiting area.

Bonus FAQ for beauty salons:

According to the ministry’s FAQ, these activities are not allowed: bathtub treatments, jacuzzis, scrubs, sauna, body massage, feet massage.

Just like for hair salon staff, Covid-19 tests are not compulsory and are only required for those who are not Malaysians if the government gives instructions for such tests.

The number of employees allowed at beauty salons at any one time depends on the feasibility of social distancing, with the repeated use of face shields by beauty salon employees allowed subject to frequent cleaning and replacement if damaged.

Beauty salons can provide services by visiting customers’ homes, provided all prevention procedures are carried out including the wearing of face shields, recording of customers’ body temperature, cleaning of beauty equipment and practising of social distancing.

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