MCO: Mixed reactions whether to allow barbers to operate

KUALA LUMPUR:  The Federal government decided to allow some industries to operate during the extended movement control order (EMCO).

The MCO was extended yesterday for the second time to April 28, as announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The list from Miti includes industries such as automotive, machinery and equipment, aerospace, construction projects, social health services including traditional and complementary medicine practitioners, hardware and electrical shops, opticians as well as full-service laundrettes and hair salons/barber shops (haircuts only).

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said these industries, which include non-essential and professional services, must apply online from 9am on Monday (April 13) on the International Trade and Industry Ministry’s (Miti) website for permission to operate during the MCO period.

Azmin, who is also International Trade and Industry Minister, warned that permission given to these industries will be revoked immediately if the business did not comply with the stated standard operating procedures.

To further understand the reaction of barber shop owners and hairstylists, One Malaya managed to get insights and also includes a report carried by FMT as well as a suggestion of questioning in allowing barber shops to operate by a former deputy minister.

Based on former Communication and Multimedia Deputy Minister Jailani Johari Facebook posting,

Jailani said that “We are entering the 25th day of MCO period as everyone is asked to obey the order to further help break the chain.

“What is the justification to allow barber shop to be opened? Furthermore, barber shop is under the non-essential category. How to maintain social distancing?

We don’t want another new cluster to emerge, which is the barber shop cluster!

The government has to take a serious consideration and let’s not compromise which involves health and security matter.

On a similar tone, FMT carried a news report where a hairstylist association disagrees with the government’s move to allow barbershops and salons to resume service during the movement control order (MCO) period.

Selangor and Federal Territories Indian Hairstylists Association chairman Ganathiban Murugan told FMT he was unsure why the government was allowing people to get their hair cut at the barber’s.

“In supermarkets, people have to stand at least 1m away from each other, but to cut hair we have to come into close contact with our customers. How do we keep a safe distance from them?

“We do not know who has the virus. My suggestion is that we do not open shop for now, it is the wrong time.”


Other barbers willing to operate but with more compliance

Speaking to professional hairstylists Leo and Wayne, brothers who own Twinzzo barbershop in Sunway Geo, told One Malaya that they are ready to open the shop with the guidelines and compliance informed by the government.

“Since morning, we have been receiving many calls asking us whether we will be opening the shop.

“We have submitted our application to the relevant authority and most likely once we have obtained the approval, we are planning to resume our business after April 14.

“Now during the application, we are advised to get pre-booking from customers, ensure to place hand sanitiser and provide mask to our customers.

“We are also advised to regularly change our hand gloves, mask within 2 hours.

“As an extra precaution, we will take temperature of each customer before entering the shop and ensure the whole shop is highly clean with any possible disinfectant.

“It may look as a tedious and extra job to handle, but we can’t be complacent and have to take all the necessary precaution measures” Leo and Wayne said.

Another barber shop operator within Subang Jaya area, P Veera when contacted said, “Yes we will start to operate once obtaining the approval from government.

“We will ensure mask and hand sanitiser given to customers. At the same time, we will take away the chairs, not allowing the customers to sit.

“If can we will advise our customers to do a pre-booking via telephone as to avoid overcrowding in our shop.

“It may look difficult to maintain social distancing, but everyone has to take a co-operative role in maintaining cleanliness and other necessary steps described in the guidelines.”