This past year made us realise everything we took for granted — from that short evening stroll to a nearby dhaba, to hitting up a salon to treat ourselves. The government recently imposed another round of restrictions due to rising Covid cases but Karachi's salons aren't going to give up on their pre-Eid clientele. They have decided to either operate secretly or offer home services.
According to a notice by the Government of Sindh, under the Sindh Act VIII of 2015, a ban was imposed on "beauty parlours and spas, with immediate effect and till 16.05.2021." That's after Eid, which means people won't be able to go to salons to get primped up for the celebration.
Many such as Hina Y, who understood the gravity of the critical situation amid the rising cases of coronavirus, announced that they would temporarily be shutting down, immediately effective immediately.
However, the salon will still be offering retail sales, with cash on delivery nationwide for everyone who wishes to indulge in a little self-pampering at home.
Similarly, many such as Nabila, who faced criticism for re-opening her salon early in 2020, decided to switch to offering home services this time. However, the services being offered are limited.
"For example, you can't have a pedicure at home, but basic barber services such as cut, shave and beard will be available," a representative from NGents informed Images.
Yet, some salons and spas located in the city’s posh commercial areas, admitted to operating secretively despite government orders to shut down. Eid remains to be one of their busiest times of the year, which is why once we reached out for appointments, we were told by most places that they were still accommodating customers (some even having waiting lists).
"We're open for now but don't know what the future will hold," Joie Salon and Spa said.
One leading salon chain admitted on the condition of anonymity that only two of their four branches —specifically their DHA branch — were operating.
"Two salons have been shut down and two are operating and will be shut down by tomorrow or day after," a salon representative told Images. "We will be starting home services so that people can celebrate Eid festivities and we can provide services while following SOPs. We're still working on the protocols but nothing is confirmed yet. We may start from next week," he said.
A men's salon operating in Zamzama revealed how unfortunate the situation is, adding they were petrified at finding themselves at such crossroads.
"From the last experience where everyone was being fined left right and centre, we're just very terrified. If we don't generate income, we can't pay salaries," one of their representatives who chose to stay anonymous, explained.
"We were the first ones to offer home services, but at the end of the day, it's still a huge loss," they admitted, adding that while their salon is shut, they are once again arranging staff to be sent out to people's homes.
However, not everyone has the ability to arrange home services and it will be a test for salons. The first lockdown took a toll on many businesses and this round of restrictions is likely to be challenging as well. Many salons are still operating secretly but waiting for the axe to fall in the form of a government raid or forcible closure.