Urban Company commends the Government of India for taking swift and decisive action to curb the spread of COVID-19 through lockdowns. Going forward, we have to delicately balance both lives and livelihood, as highlighted by our honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji through the slogan, “Jaan bhi, Jahaan bhi”. Consequently, Urban Company appeals to the government to allow at home beauty and barber services to resume in all zones after Lockdown 3.0 ends on 17th May. As of now, these services are only operational in orange and green zones, while red zones constitute the bulk of the industry.
The beauty industry provides livelihood to nearly 70 lakh people in India1. Self-employed women beauticians form a large part of this workforce. Many of them are single breadwinners for their families, and the ongoing COVID-19 crises has adversely impacted their livelihood. Depriving these individuals of incomes for an extended period of time will lead to forced migration and disruption of families. It will also deprive the industry of trained workforce built with years of effort and investment. It is pivotal that the government keeps their interests in mind while formulating the next set of lockdown guidelines.
Hence, Urban Company urges the following:
- Appeals to the government to allow beauty and barber services to resume in red zones after Lockdown 3.0 ends on 17th May (Currently allowed only allowed in orange and green zones)
- Recommends allowing salons, barber shops and self-employed individuals to deliver services at home (Including through online aggregators like Urban Company), just like the restaurant industry has been allowed to deliver food at home.
- Highlights that the beauty and wellness industry employs nearly 70 lac people, many of whom are single women, and this move will help protect their livelihood and provide for their families.
- Suggests a range of hygiene and safety protocols which can ensure that beauty and barber services can be delivered at home in a safe manner
As the government considers graded opening up of the economy, Urban Company recommends allowing salons, barber shops and self employed individuals to deliver services at home across zones (Including through online aggregators like Urban Company), similar to the restaurant industry which has been allowed to deliver food at home (Including through online platforms like Swiggy & Zomato). In the case of the latter, restaurants were allowed to deliver food to customers at home while dine-in operations remained suspended. This move helped restaurants earn revenues, pay employees and extended workforce, and remain afloat during the lockdown period. Services delivered at home are typically done in a 1-on-1 format, while minimizing crowding and congregation. This move will allow both salon chains and self employed service professionals to cater to consumers while also earning livelihood.
Further, Urban Company recommends a comprehensive set of protocols for beauticians and barbers while they deliver services at home. These protocols specify usage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as masks and gloves, mandatory use of the Aarogya Setu app, daily temperature checks, single use sachets and disposables, sanitization of all tools before the service delivery, no services in containment zones, health and safety training of self-employed professionals, and payment via digital means. Details of these SOPs have been given in this press release.
“We believe that under the ambit of “Jaan Bhi Jahaan bhi”, the beauty services industry should also be allowed to operate, including in red zones. Our biggest focus right now should be to conserve jobs and protect livelihoods of the over 60 lakh people that the sector employs, most of whom are women.
“Further, to ensure safety & health of customers and professionals, we have suggested 8 key safety protocols which beauticians and barbers can follow,” said Varun Khaitan, Co-founder, Urban Company.
8 key safety protocols for beauticians and barbers to follow while delivering services at home:
- Masks, Gloves & Sanitisers: Barbers and beauticians should wear medical grade personal protective equipment (PPE), including medical masks, gloves and sanitizers, to keep themselves and customers protected
- Mandatory use of the Aarogya Setu app: Before starting a service, we suggest that beauticians and display their health status on the Aarogya Setu app to customer
- Daily temperature checks: All beauticians and barbers should perform a daily temperature check, and if their temperature is above 99 degrees Fahrenheit, or they have any symptoms like a cold, cough etc., they should self-quarantine
- Health & Safety Training: Urban Company has created a 7 day, online health and safety training program, as per WHO prescribed hygiene standards. The company will be making this program open source and sharing it with any beautician or barber who wishes to get trained, free of cost.
- Single-use disposables and sachet products: The company prescribes that all beauticians and barbers should only use disposables, and single use sachet products, to ensure no cross contamination across customers.
- Sanitization of tools and equipment: Beauticians and barbers should sanitise their equipment in front of the customers, before and after each service
- No services in containment zones: The Urban Company technology platform allows geo-fencing of containment zones or hotspots as they are announced by the Government of India, ensuring that no professionals deliver services in these zones, and no professionals living in these zones serve customers. Urban Company advises all beauticians and barbers to follow this strictly
- Cashless payments: Urban Company has fully migrated to cashless digital transactions, and advising beauticians and barbers to adopt the same.