Updated on: Wednesday, December 29, 2021, 11:49 PM IST

Bhopal: How Covid has changed beauty, wellness industry

Emphasis on hygiene increased health awareness. Workouts in open are preferred over AC gyms. Parlour, gym owners say their costs are up.

BHOPAL (Madhya Pradesh): Like all other sectors, the beauty and wellness industry, too, has witnessed changes in work culture due to Covid-19 pandemic. There is now agreater emphasis on maintaining hygiene and preventing close interaction between clients and service providers.

Owners and operators of beauty parlours and gyms in the city with whom Free Press talked to say that their operational costs have gone up and their profits have gone down. Disposables have become the norm in the beauty parlours and people prefer workouts in open and online.

President, Bhopal Beauty Parlours' Association, Sarita Shrivastava, says that the pandemic was unexpected and initially, everyone was clueless about how to deal with the situation. Once the parlours were allowed to open after the first lockdown, cosmetic companies organised training workshops for beautificians to help them follow the government's guidelines.

Now, she says, as soon as a client enters parlour, her temperature is recorded and her travel history for the past 14 days is noted in a register. If she is found running fever or suffering from a cold or cough, she is politely asked to go back. 'While treating clients, we use disposable towels, masks, cutting sheets, shoes and caps. Metallic tools are sterilised after every use,' she says. During facials, the beauticians use face shields. 'All this not only takes time but also adds to our costs,' Shrivastava adds.

Owner of Ideal Family Salon, 10 Number Market, Sunil Sen says that earlier they used the same razor for shaving multiple clients. Only the blade was changed. 'But now, we have started using disposable razors,' he adds. Sen says that the governmentís guidelines have pushed their per-client expenses up but they cannot increase their charges as the people are already avoiding visiting salons.'

Owner of CrossFit Gym, Bhopal, Satish Kumar says that Covid-19 has increased health awareness. 'Now, even people in the age group of 20 to 30 years have started devoting 45 minutes every day to keep themselves fit,' he adds. The emphasis now is on hygiene. Most trainees now bring their own sheets, mats, towels and sanitiser wet tissues.

According to Kumar, the pandemic has also brought people closer to nature. 'They no longer prefer air-conditioned gyms. They want to workout in the open. Hence we have redesigned our fitness programmes to enable people to exercise in the open with minimum equipment. Itís back to basics,' he says.

Owner of Nikky Bawa Beauty Salon & Academy, Nikki Bawa, said her laundry bill has gone up. 'We have to get the floor cleaned with Dettol solution and phenyl every day. I ensure that all my staffers are fully vaccinated,' she adds.

Huzefa Qureshi of 365 Degrees Gym says that earlier their establishment operated in two shifts - 6 am to 12 noon and 5 pm to 10 pm. 'But now we are open from 6 am to 10 pm to prevent crowding,' he says.

He said he had to double cleaning and housekeeping staff to maintain hygiene. 'Now each piece of equipment has to be wiped with a disinfectant after use.' The pandemic has also led to a shift towards online training. Such clients include women who want to get back into shape after delivery, those who have recently recovered from Covid, the elderly and those who are not in the city but want to continue training.

Freelance make-up artist Rachna Shewani, who provides home service to clients, wears a PPE kit, transparent spectacles, cap and mask before starting her work. 'The brush for applying foundation has to be washed after every use,' she says.

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Published on: Wednesday, December 29, 2021, 11:49 PM IST