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Salons close as a direct response of the pandemic

As at the end of July 2020, approximately 200 registered beauty establishments had confirmed to the National Bargaining Council for the Hairdressing Cosmetology Beauty & Skincare Industry (HCBSBC) that they have closed as a result of the COVID-19 national lockdown, which saw salons and spas prohibited from operating for nearly three months.

Frik Bekker, HCBSBC financial manager and acting CEO, points out that this is only a fraction of registered establishments. “However,” he continues, “with the information we are receiving, as well as the trends with the payment of contributions, we expect to see a drop in registered establishments of between 30% and 40% in the industry. This cannot be substantiated at the moment but we feel this is a relatively accurate estimate.

“The Council is still receiving feedback from the industry on whether an establishment has closed due to COVID-19, is still closed due to current lockdown regulations, or is only intending on opening in the New Year. Not all establishments have informed us of such and this is on an increase on a daily basis.”

There are no comprehensive statistics for the total number of beauty establishments in South Africa because not all beauty establishments in the formal sector are registered with the HCBSBC, even though they are mandated by Government to do so. There are also beauty establishments operating in the informal sector that do not fall within the HCBSBC’s purview.

Job losses

Elna Hagen, president of SAAHSP – the Professional Body for the Skin, Body & Nail Care Industry, comments: “Since the inception of COVID-19 and the lockdown, we realised that the industry faced imminent retrenchments, as well as business closures, which in turn unfortunately caused irreversible damage as far as jobs are concerned and led to extreme poverty.

“As an organisation, SAAHSP is also seeing the enormous additional financial strains on businesses as they follow the necessary COVID-19 protocols in a high-risk professional environment during the quiet winter months.

“At this stage it seems like some salons and spas have decided to stay closed for the time being rather than not being able to operate at a 100% capacity.”

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