Rising number of Covid cases and weekend curfew affects the income of barbers. The compensation promised by the government still remains a promise
Bengaluru: Barbers in the city did not receive the compensation that was promised by the Government. Shaiks from Truefitt & Hill said, “Government should provide compensation and make sure everyone who applies receives it. Because last year during lockdown in April 2020, the government had announced Rs.5000 compensation for the barbers but we still haven’t received that amount.”
On May 2020, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa announced onetime relief fund of RS.5000 to barbers, who belonged to unorganized sector. A Seva Sindhu report stated, 4688 barbers in Bengaluru received the relief fund.
However, not all barbers were aware of that relief fund and did not apply for it. Margrate, Assistant manager from Salon Nayana said that they are not aware of the scheme. “We thought it was fake so we didn’t apply for it” she said.
The deadline for application ended on 10/07/20.
Impact of Second wave:
Rising number of Covid 19 cases made employees switch to auto for their daily commute. “I am afraid to travel in buses as the number of Covid cases are on the rise. The auto fare costs up to Rs.80 every day,” said Margrate .
Paying rent to the landlords and salary to employees are the common problems faced by the owners of salons. Raju, owner of Unisex saloon said that the owner of the place which he has rented for the salon, told him to pay Rs. 35, 000 in rent or to find a place elsewhere for his salon.“It is difficult to pay employees as the number of customers visiting has reduced due to second wave and if I let my employees go, then getting them back to work in the saloon will be difficult, as most will go back to their home towns,” he added.
In May 2020, after the first lockdown was announced, Karnataka Revenue minister R Ashoka said that rents should not be collected during lockdown and that action will be taken against owners who don’t follow this.
However, when government announced a 15 day lockdown on April 26, 2021, there was no mention of any regulation for rent collection in the state.”They have to announce at least 50 percent reduction in rent for houses as well as shops,” said Margrate from Salon Nayana.
The weekend curfew:
The weekend curfew had a negative impact on barber business. “People have free time on weekends so we have more customers on weekends as compared to weekdays. But as covid cases started rising in Bengaluru, people became hesitant to visit the shop and now the lockdown on weekends further affected our business, because 70 percent of our monthly income comes from weekends,” said Shaiks from Truefitt & Hill.
Janaki Ram, retired professor and Head of Department, Master of Business Administration in MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology said barbers are from economically weaker section and the barber services cannot be availed in houses. “We can’t cut our hair ourselves,” he added.
Margrate, Assitant manager from Salon Nayana said that they had 20-30 customers during weekends and only two to three customers on weekdays and that their income was largely affected because of the weekend curfew.
“Government should exempt weekend lockdown for saloon shops in future because their income will be largely affected,” said Janaki Ram
Saloon do not fall under the essential services category and are to be closed during the lockdown that is imposed from April 27th, 2021. “The decision is right on lockdown for saloon shops because social distancing is not possible in these shops but with providing proper PPE kits to employee and face shield mask for customers it is possible to operate saloon shops,” said economist Janaki Ram.