The Grooming Sector (nail, hair, beauty & health services) which has a high proportion of female owners who are often the sole breadwinners of their families and support many dependants is suffering immense losses during this lockdown. Any further extension of the lockdown could see the entire industry face potential bankruptcy. The Sorbet Group of salons Experience (Pty) Ltd leads the field in maintaining the strictest hygiene standards and is ready to implement even further precautionary hygiene protocols and safety measures as their submission to government shows:-
As a member of FASA, the Sorbet Group consists of a franchised network of 220 salons throughout South Africa. Our offering includes beauty salons, nail bars, salons offering hair related services and salons offering men’s grooming services.
The vast majority of Sorbet salons are owner managed by individual females, who are dependent on their store profits as their only source of income. Sorbet salons employ approximately 3 500 persons, the majority of whom are trained as female beauty therapists, nail technicians, hair stylists and barbers. Their employees are often the sole breadwinners in their families and support many dependents, which is estimated to be a further 20 000 people from disadvantaged communities. As an industry and Sorbet business, we are governed by the National Bargaining Council for Hair, Beauty and Cosmetology and all employees earn at the stipulated minimum wage or commission on services rendered, whichever is the highest.
The closure of the salon industry due to the national lockdown is having a devastating impact on the industry, the salon owners, their employees and dependants. Initial estimates show that 40% of Sorbet salons could face closure should the lockdown restrictions prevent them from returning to trade by 1 June 2020. Any further extension of the lockdown beyond this date could see the entire industry face potential bankruptcy. It is therefore imperative that salons are afforded the opportunity to re-open their doors as soon as possible. The industry is also supported by many small independent suppliers who rely on salons’ ability to trade. Any extended lockdown and the resultant permanent closure of salons will therefore have a negative impact on these suppliers’ ability to earn a living and will undoubtedly result in further job losses.
In addition to the economic impact and the request to trade, the hair and beauty industry is instrumental in contributing to a person’s overall wellness, improved self-esteem and morale, which is much needed as many South Africans are feeling anxious, lonely and uncertain about what the future holds. The ‘feel good’ factor that is synonymous with our industry is a powerful tool which adds to the positive well-being of many South Africans.
Sorbet, its franchisees and employees, acknowledges and applauds the work that Government is continuing to do to contain the spread of Coronavirus and flatten the curve within South Africa. The Hair and Beauty Industry, inclusive of the Sorbet salons, prides itself in already applying strict hygiene standards that are paramount to the success of the industry. In addition hereto, Sorbet salons run on a appointment basis which enables franchise owners to manage and restrict the number of customers that are in store at any given time, supporting the social distancing requirements for trade.
Further to our already existing stringent hygiene processes and protocols and in compliance with the South African Government’s efforts to avoid the spread of the Coronavirus, Sorbet will be implementing the following additional precautionary hygiene protocols and safety measure across all stores on opening:
- Prior to opening a small team will be sent in to deep clean each store;
- All employees will be trained on hygiene protocols prior to re-opening and the impact of Covid-19 in the workplace. Training will take place online and employees will need to pass an examination prior to being ready to trade;
- All magazines to be removed and drinks will no longer be provided to customers;
- All employees and customers will sign a register on arrival which will include the required screening questions. Customers will also be asked the relevant screening questions regarding their health when booking an appointment;
- Limiting the number of employees per store at any given time by introducing a shift system to limit the potential spread of infection and reduce the number of employees travelling to work each day;
- All employees to change from their civilian clothing into their workwear upon arrival at the salon;
- Appointing and training one employee per store as a ‘hygiene ambassador’ to ensure that all hygiene protocols are strictly adhered to daily;
- Employees will wear face masks, protective visors and gloves with every treatment;
- Employees to sanitize their hands regularly and in between treatments;
- All workstations to be thoroughly sanitized at the start of the day, in between each treatment and/or customer;
- Deep cleaning and sanitizing of all resources between treatments;
- Social distancing measures to be strictly enforced which will include restricted movement of employees outside of the salons and limiting the total number of employees in any pause areas to maximum two at a time;
- Limiting the number of customers in the salon by staggering all bookings to allow for enough spacing between workstations in line with the social distancing guidelines of 1.5 to 2 meters, i.e. one workstation to remain open while another is in use;
- Protective Perspex screen dividers to be placed between customers, nail technicians, beauty therapists, hair stylists, barbers, at the wash basins and front desk;
- Touchless hand sanitizer dispensers to be installed at the entrance to the salon, at the counter (if not too close to the entrance), at strategic positions throughout each salon and at each workstation;
- Automatic soap dispensers and disposable paper towel dispensers to be installed next to all basins. Medical waste bins to be installed;
- All customers to sanitize their hands on entering the salon and the wearing of face masks will be compulsory at all times;
- Signage relating to hygiene protocols to be strategically positioned throughout salons;
- Employees will sanitize their hands and spray their tools with disinfectant in front of the customer at the start of every treatment;
- Disposable linen to be used throughout the salon and will be replaced at the end of every treatment;
- The front desk co-ordinator will assist with retail sales as customers will be discouraged from touching retail products;
- The front desk co-ordinator will sanitize her hands as well as the computer, receipt printer and speed point machine in front of the customer each time a new customer approaches the counter; and
- Clear procedures implemented around managing employees or guests that are possibly infected with Covid-19.
Once trading commences, Sorbet will diligently monitor the compliance and implementation of all hygiene protocols as part of our operational standards. These additional hygiene protocols will form part of the continuous training for all franchisees and employees.
Sorbet would like to impress on the Government the adverse consequences of the lockdown on the industry as a whole. We are committed to working together to ensure the ongoing compliance of hygiene protocols across all salons. We respectfully wish to appeal to the South African Government to take these submissions into account when finalising the schedule of services.