THE first day of the recovery movement control order (MCO) saw long queues outside barber shops and hair salons that were fully packed with appointments as business resumed after being closed for almost three months.
Barbers and hair stylists were seen taking extra precautions to make sure that standard operating procedures (SOP) were adhered to, wearing face covers and disinfecting their combs and scissors after every customer.
Among those who were excited to have a haircut after three months was payroll specialist Muhammad Syafiq Ahmad Rusli, 24.
“I came at 9am and there was a queue outside the shop. I waited for about one and a half hours for my turn. There were about 12 people in front of me.
“I have patronised this shop since 2008 so I had to come back here the moment they reopened.
“Throughout the whole MCO, I did not cut my hair so it feels good to finally have short hair again, ” he said when met at a barber shop in Ayer Itam.
Muhammad Syafiq said he was happy with the SOP followed at the shop.
“There is social distancing and they are wearing proper gear, ” he said.
Retiree James Lau, 73, said he was happy to finally have his haircut.
“It has been more than three months since my last haircut.
“I usually cut my hair every five to six weeks.
“I now do not have to wash so much hair and the ends of the hair are not jutting out, ” he said.
Lau, who used to work in the postal service, said he did not mind waiting in line.
“I hope they start taking customers on an appointment basis as sometimes, people tend to stand too close to each other when lining up outside the shop, ” he said.
Chemical engineering student Low Chee An, 19, said he had been waiting patiently for three months to cut his hair.
“I cut my hair every month.
“I considered cutting it at home but was afraid as I did not know how.
“Long hair takes longer to wash and blow-dry.
“I am satisfied with the haircut and the SOP, ” he said.
Barber shop owner S. Vaiyapuri said he did not expect such a large crowd on the first day.
“These are all my regular customers.
“There is a long queue because we can only cater to three people at a time.
“The time it takes to cut hair is longer as well as we need to disinfect the combs and scissors and now we cut hair with gloves on, which is difficult.
“What usually takes 10 minutes now takes us around 25 minutes, ” he said.
At a hair salon in Bayan Lepas, strict protocol was followed as customers had to check their temperature and had their shoes and hands disinfected.
Customers were also given face masks and were only offered haircuts and a basic hair wash.
Senior branch manager Eason Keong said they had been closed for over 80 days.
“Our regular customers made appointments with us during the MCO so we are fully booked this week and will be catering to about 40 people each day.
“Service time is longer as well due to the SOP, where it takes about an hour for each person.
“Usually our wash and massage is about 20 minutes but now we wash the hair quickly.
“We work on an appointment basis and do not take in walk-in customers for now, ” he said.
Keong said they were fully booked this week.
“Our customers made appointments before the MCO was over. They just kept changing the dates as the MCO was extended.
“We do not offer treatment unless it can fit in the one hour they are allotted, ” he said.
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