MCO: Cruel cut for hair salons during otherwise lucrative period


Thinking of a new hair colour or cut this Chinese New Year? Maybe not, with a fresh round of MCO at the moment and the closure of hair salons. Photo: 123rf.com

As businesses were just beginning to recover from the destabilising effects of Covid-19, we are now in lockdown once again.

With the spike in Covid-19 cases in the country, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced on Jan 11 that a 14-day movement control order (MCO) will be imposed from today until Jan 26 for Sabah, Johor, Melaka, Selangor, Penang, and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan.

Datin Winnie Loo stressed that this MCO is definitely hurting her business and she says she speaks for the hair industry that 'all of us hairdressers have been robbed emotionally and financially because when our hands stop, our mouth stops'. Photo: Datin Winnie LooDatin Winnie Loo stressed that this MCO is definitely hurting her business and she says she speaks for the hair industry that 'all of us hairdressers have been robbed emotionally and financially because when our hands stop, our mouth stops'. Photo: Datin Winnie LooHairdressing services is not listed under the essential services by MITI (International Trade and Industry Ministry), hence hair salons are not allowed to operate again.

With Chinese New Year around the corner on Feb 12, it is now normally a peak period for hair salon businesses as many people would be flocking to their favourite hairdressers to get a new hair cut or colour to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

However, this MCO has put the brakes on this lucrative season for the hair industry.

Datin Winnie Loo, founder of A Cut Above Salons and Academy, and MHA Honorary president, perfectly sums up all our reaction when she says, “Oh no, not again!”

“I was really hoping that we can at least have a good start to 2021!” Loo laments.

“With the surge in Covid-19 cases in the past weeks I was expecting another movement restriction but I was hoping that we could stretch just a bit more for business sake but this lockdown is much needed as the cases have surged too aggressively,” Loo says.

Shawn Loong, founder of Shawn Cutler and L'Oreal Professionnel Artistic ambassador, concurs with Loo that it was the right decision by the Government to implement the MCO from today.

“While I think the implementation of the MCO is the right decision with a spike in cases, so far there have been no reports of clusters from the hairdressing industry. Hence, I hope that the Government will see this, change their minds and possibly adjust the MCO to give consideration to our industry, ” says Michael Poh, president of the Malaysian Hairdressing Association (MHA) and United Asia Hairdresser Association (UAHA), and founder of Hair Zone Studio.

With Chinese New Year around the corner and a closure of salons, Shawn Loong says this MCO will hit all salon businesses very hard. At the same time, he hopes that everyone in the country will learn to be patient and stay at home. Photo: Shawn LoongWith Chinese New Year around the corner and a closure of salons, Shawn Loong says this MCO will hit all salon businesses very hard. At the same time, he hopes that everyone in the country will learn to be patient and stay at home. Photo: Shawn Loong“This MCO will severely impact our business and our income will become totally zero. Because it’s a service and we cannot ‘sell’ this service online. We really hope the Government can recognise this and also without financial support from the Government it will be a tougher time for salon business owners,” Poh points out.

Business was picking up in November and especially December for Loo but she says: “However, our plans are not God’s plan for now”.

“With the lockdown and the salon industry not allowed to open again, we don’t even have a chance to service our clients. Let’s say two weeks with another two weeks’ extension and hopefully no more, if not Chinese New Year is over. To all our clients please be patient, don’t despair. We will be back to beautify your crowning glory, but please stay safe for now, ” Loo says.

Loo stressed that this MCO is definitely hurting her business and with a heavy heart, she says, “I speak for the hair industry that all of us hairdressers have been robbed emotionally and financially because when our hands stop, our mouth stops."

While Michael Poh believes the MCO is the right decision due to a spike in Covid-19 cases, he hopes the Government will consider allowing the hair industry to re-open for business as a closure severely impacts the entire industry, which cannot offer its services online. Photo: Michael PohWhile Michael Poh believes the MCO is the right decision due to a spike in Covid-19 cases, he hopes the Government will consider allowing the hair industry to re-open for business as a closure severely impacts the entire industry, which cannot offer its services online. Photo: Michael Poh“This time around, it will definitely affect my business and also everyone in the hairdressing industry. It will hit us hard because Chinese New Year is around the corner and we will lose a lot compared to previous years,” Loong says.

But, at the same time Loong hopes that everyone in the country will learn to be patient and stay at home and to follow SOPs to stay safe as everyone has a family and loved ones.

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