NAT BEAUTY 1-1591616037149
Picture for illustrative purposes: a salon in Dubai Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Beauty salons in the UAE face an ugly truth – it won’t be business as usual for them any time soon. Many of them are struggling to survive as they have hardly had any customer or new enquiries in recent days.

“Some of our outlets would get up to 75 customers daily around this time last year. Today the same outlets barely draw seven,” said Nguyen, manager of Companion Beauty Salon & Spa which has four branches in the UAE. “We are abiding to all hygiene and safety standards but customers remain wary,” said the Vietnamese.

Beauty salons in Dubai reopened on May 27 with less pampering and more efficiency. They now operate at 50 per cent capacity but are allowed to offer just hair and nail services. Spa and waxing services which constituted a substantial part of their income remain prohibited to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“We slashed hair styling rates to attract customers but the turnout remains dismal,” said an Arab beautician who runs a salon in Hor Al Anz. “Women are fearful of contracting the coronavirus in the close confines of a salon yes, but that’s not necessarily why they are keeping away from us. I reckon the majority of them are not visiting salons simply because they remain sequestered at home and have no occasions to glam up. I don’t know how long we could manage,” she said.

Another Arab woman who runs a salon in Al Nahda faces a similar predicament.

“I designed fliers offering discount on hair spas and sent them to our loyal customers via WhatsApp but only two responded,” she said.

Lily McMaster, the 73-year-old owner of Nancy Beauty Salon Karama said they are coming to grips with the situation.

“In keeping with government guidelines we operate at half the capacity and have done away with waiting areas,” said McMaster who worked as a nurse in Dubai for 36 years.

“I have been a nurse for the most part of my life so the health and safety of our customers is always paramount to us. Our staff wear face masks at all times and all our equipment and surfaces are thoroughly disinfected every few hours. I myself check the body temperature of clients upon arrival,” she said.

Parlours violating safety guidelines face strict penalties

In April 10 men’s salons, seven women’s salons in Dubai were shut down for violating coronavirus safety guidelines besides three in Fujairah last month.

A similar action has led to the closure of 154 hair dressing shops in Dubai recently, according to Dr Naseem Mohammad Rafie, director of Health and Safety Department at Dubai Municipality.