HAIR WE GO: Come Sunday and you can work on your six-pack and get those tresses trimmed   

Mumbai: If you've been anxiously cracking those knuckles, despairing over the state of your biceps, triceps, pects, glutes and innards, now, you can either a) rest at ease or b) jog to it -- your beloved gymnasium.

You can also feel a lot lighter, if, on your return trip, you decide to tame those tresses you acquired during the lockdown. Naturally, you are expected to be masked and armed with hand sanitiser at all times, while assiduously keeping your distance. Nearly 40,000 salons and 50,000 gyms in Maharashtra are set to re-open from June 28, after a more than three-month hiatus.

Under its '#MissionBeginAgain', the state government had begun unlocking in phases, a slew of activities since June 3. On Thursday, it allowed the reopening of salons and gyms in the state. The news should prove a pick-me-up for the more than 10 lakh people in the salon business and about 25 lakh trainers in the fitness field.

At the moment, salons may only provide haircuts, so those patrons seeking the works -- facials, mani-pedis -- will just have to grin and bare it a bit longer, unless they are DIYs (Do It Yourselfers).

State Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar said that during the state cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray agreed to allow salons to reopen with adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs) on hygiene and cleanliness. "Hair salons will reopen. However, the use of sanitisers and masks will be mandatory for the hairdresser and the customer. Similarly, the cloth or towel used for one customer shall not be used for others," he said.

 Minister of Ports Aslam Shaikh said the government had issued the guidelines.

 Both Wadettiwar and Sheikh admitted that the government had received representations from salon and gym operators on the issue.

 Salon operators had demanded that they be allowed to resume business or be provided a financial assistance package, said Wadettiwar. About 12 barbers have committed suicide in the last three months due to financial losses suffered due to the lockdown, he added.

Salon Beauty Parlour Association President Dattatray Chavan, who had recently urged NCP chief Sharad Pawar to intervene, said salons would strictly observe safety and hygiene norms.

 On the other hand, Enrich Salons founder Vikram Bhatt said it was important for the industry to begin operations since the beauty and wellness sector has been one of the largest employers. ‘’Opening up salons from this week is a much-awaited and welcome move. In other states where the industry has reopened since a month, we have been following safety guidelines and protocols strictly and hence, there has been no spike in transmission,’’ he noted.

Nitrro Fitness Founder Prabodh Davkhare said the gym operators have come out with a SOP to ensure social distancing and a safe and hygienic workout on their premises. ‘’Fitness is the best medicine to boost immunity and fight against coronavirus,’’ he added.

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