KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii today urged the government to allow hair salons to reopen immediately, after 11 weeks of closure during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The DAP lawmaker questioned why the government needed to wait for this weekend to finalise standard operating procedures (SOPs) for hairdressers and barbers, when they were previously allowed to operate on April 15, a decision that was subsequently retracted due to public uproar.
“Why does it take so long for them to finalise it when many hairdressers and barbers and even small traders are suffering without income for almost three months?” Dr Yii said on Facebook.
Yesterday, Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that SOPS for more social and commercial activities will be discussed soon, covering hair salons and markets.
“This shows little urgency for the government when the industry is suffering and many [have] not been getting income for past months, even though they have bills to pay including their rental and salary for their assistants,” Dr Yii said.
He also emphasised the importance of finalising the SOPs before June 9 because clear and earlier communication will help those involved make the necessary preparations and adapting the required SOP during business operations.
“Actually, the Malaysian Hairdressing Association (MHA) has already released a comprehensive SOP recommendation since the 11th May that covers handling of clients, sterilisation of seats and even equipments, and many others.
“So, even with this, the slowness of the government to act upon it has badly affected the industry forcing some to do house calls and even open illegally even though it is not allowed,” Dr Yii said, adding that some barbers and salons have reportedly been fined for operating during the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).
He suggested that SOPs followed by doctors and dentists who provide close-contact essential services can be taken as a guideline to prepare the SOPs for salons to avoid coronavirus transmission.
“This also includes beauty salons, facials, even manicure, and pedicure. While I acknowledge that these may not be essential services, the government must act quickly to show them an ‘exit strategy’ to help them get through this tough time,” he added.
Dr Yii urged the federal and state government to extend their aid under their economic stimulus package to cover these sectors which have been badly affected by the Movement Control Order and even the CMCO.