Egypt’s beauty salons struggle to survive in COVID-19 era

Map of Egypt. Selective Focus.
Map of Egypt. Selective Focus.

Many beauty salons across Egypt are struggling to survive, as the number of COVID-19 cases has been continuously climbing in the country.

When customers enter LeBeauteSalon in Cairo’s upscale Maadi district, they are provided with face masks.

“I offered 25 percent discount on haircut, pedicure, manicure, and microblading services to attract more customers,” said Samira Aly, the 43-year-old owner of the salon.

“My business is almost dead since the middle of March. There are some days that no customer enters my salon at all,” Aly told Xinhua.

Aly has sent the offers to her loyal clients via WhatsApp to encourage them to come nack and plans to receive only four appointments in each section per day to avoid crowds.

To ease the worries of the client, Aly asks all the staff to wear masks and gloves while washing the customers’ hair.

Currently many prefer not to visit any beauty center to avoid even a slight possibility of infection, said Nermeen Ismael, a manicurist at Sham beauty center in Nasr City.

Although she assured that she would be using disinfection and sterilization, there are few customers showing up. “It would be a happy day if I could work for two clients,” she said.

Ismael said her salon is offering discounts which has further reduced her daily income, but she bets on the last ten days of Ramadan hoping to receive more clients and get good tips.

In the past, while the Eid al-Fitr, the Islamic holiday that follows the fasting month of Ramadan, is approaching, beauty salons in Egypt are turned into a beehive.

However, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed 525 lives in Egypt as of Sunday, hair salons and beauty centers are struggling to keep their business alive.

To curb the spread of the coronavirus, the authorities have taken measures including the closure of schools, restaurants, mosques and churches, as well as introducing a night curfew.

The hair salons are required to close by 5 p.m. local time. (1500 GMT)

As the total number of confirmed cases in Egypt hit 9,400 on Sunday, Mohamed Desouqy, a member of the parliament, demanded the closure of the hair salons nationwide to curb the spread of the virus.

He said that beauty centers are “hotbeds for transfer of the infection” because social distancing is very difficult to be applied.

Opposing shutting down the salons, Mahmoud al-Degwi, chairman of the Hairdressers Branch with the Trade Chamber of Egypt said “the beauty industry is changing rapidly in response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

For the time being, many beauty workers are shifting their businesses to focus on online classes rather than in-person makeovers, he added.

“Both cosmetic retailers and beauty service workers are facing unprecedented challenges to keep their businesses running as usual. Salons are closing in many areas, leaving makeup artists and hairstylists without work,” said al-Degwi.

The small business owners and the freelancers face the biggest challenge as most of them literally cannot do their craft at this moment, he said.

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