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The COVID-19 big wave puts shutters down on salons and spas, once again!

by Arun Shirishkar

What has the rapid spread of COVID-19 led to in the state of Maharashtra? The state’s COVID-19 tally has reportedly crossed 30 lakh on Sunday (April 4) with the addition of 57,074 new cases, recording the highest single-day rise seen during the pandemic in any state since December 2019. Over 11,000 cases have been reported (in a day) in the capital city of Mumbai alone.

Highlights from the April 4, 2021, notification announced by the Maharashtra Government.
• Complete lockdown on weekends.
• Night curfew continues and ban on large gatherings (more than five people) during the day.
• Beaches, gardens, and public grounds to remain closed from 8 pm to 7 am on weekdays
and from 8 pm Friday to 7 am Monday.
• Shops, markets, and malls to remain closed throughout the day except for essential services.
• Recreation and entertainment areas such as cinema halls, theatres, amusement parks, and clubs to be shut!
• Restaurants and bars to remain closed, except for those inside the campus and integral parts of hotels.
• Religious Places of Worship to remain closed.
• Schools and Colleges to remain closed.
• No religious, social, cultural, or political functions of any kind to be allowed.
• Construction activity to be allowed only for sites where labourers are living on site.
• Any Co-operative Housing Society having more than 5 active Corona positive cases will be treated as a micro containment zone.
• Those engaged in the e-commerce activity to get vaccinated at the earliest.
• Any industrial process that is a net consumer of oxygen as a raw material is to be disallowed by default from 10th April 2021 onwards.

While the beauty industry has just begun to focus on its revival, the pandemic, owing to a rising number in the state, seems to be writing a different story for the barber shops, spa, salons, and beauty parlors. However, as per the Government of India guidelines, all staff that may work in these establishments are advised to get vaccinated at the earliest to expedite the reopening of these.

As for the manufacturing sector too, while these will continue to be operational, conditions apply:
• Factories and manufacturing units to scan body temperature of labourers pre-entry.
• Everyone engaged in the activity – managerial staff, shop floor and others, to get vaccinated at the earliest, as per criteria of GoI.
• If a labourer or worker found positive, other labourers who have come into active contact with him to be quarantined with pay.
• Factories and units with more than 500 workers to set up their own quarantine facilities.
• In case of any worker found to be positive, unit to be closed until completely sanitised.
• Lunch and tea breaks to be staggered for avoiding crowding. No common eating places.
• Common toilet facilities to be sanitised frequently.
• All workers to get vaccinated as per GoI criteria and till vaccinated to carry a valid negative RTPCR test result certificate, which will be valid for 15 days. This rule will come into effect from April 10, 2021.
• If a worker is found positive, he or she would be allowed medical leave and cannot be continued during this absence for this reason. He or she will be entitled to full wages that he or she might have earned had he or she not contacted corona.

The fight against the pandemic continues. However, together – amid social distancing – we can fight stronger. The vaccination is to our rescue and it is utmost important for the industry to look at it as the strongest weapon in the present day to fight the pandemic. This plus, one hopes that the restrictions announced by the government help “break the chain”, as mentioned by the Maharashtra Government in its recent press release.

While the shutting down of salons and spas, which reopened only a couple of months ago, is going to have a long-lasting impact on the industry – hope prevails, and that for a speedy recovery!

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