Kenya: COVID-19 - Salon, Barbershop Workers Ordered to Wear Masks

The hair and beauty industry is a huge business in the country.

However, many are wondering how salons, barbers, cosmetic shops and the hair and beauty institutions will comply with the government directive of social distancing and hand sanitisation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Business for Nairobi barbers as well as hair and beauty salons is still brisk despite a government directive for social distancing to avoid the spread of the Covid-19.

A spot check by Nairobi News found that most barbershops in the estates are defying the orders by the state and are still offering services minus the measures.

What was shocking was that they still use the same cover on every client who comes for a haircut oblivious of the danger this poses should one client be having the virus.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Dr Mercy Mwangangi on Wednesday instructed all salon and barbershop workers to start putting on face masks.

Mwangangi further urged them to come up with a plan to ensure there is no overcrowding by restricting the number of clients they handle at a particular time.

In addition, the government has also ordered the salons and barbershops to also provide hand sanitisers and exercise social distancing even when at work.

In today's world, a lady who visits the salon might not necessarily be looking for hair products.

Other services incorporated into the modern salon includes massage and Spa treatments, body waxing, body art (Tattoos/Heena), facials, manicure and pedicure, which all require close contact.

In Kasarani, one of the barbers wondered what he will do if the government forces his boss to close his shop should the current measures not bear fruit.

"In other parts of the world, governments are paying their citizens to stay home, here we are just being told not to go to work. I get a commission with every cut I make, where does the government expect me to get rent, food and money?" he posed.

Next to him was a woman who also works at the same establishment and also wondered how she is supposed to social distance while executing her work.

"I work using my hands, when they say that I should social distance, how am I supposed to wash someone's head or plait her hair?"

As Kenya enters a crucial stage in the coronavirus crisis, CS Mutahi Kagwe announced a raft of measures introduced to enforce social distancing policy among citizens.

Tough measures were announced by the government last week, to prevent the spread of coronavirus which had infected 179 people in the country by Wednesday.

Firms, factories, and workshops have also been required to send their staff home unless their work falls under the essential services and food commodities.

Even so, these companies have been directed to maintain social distancing with regular handwashing and sanitization processes in their work spaces.

The Health ministry on Wednesday said the number of Covid-19 cases is likely to spike into the thousands and overwhelm hospitals across the country.

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