The South African hair industry was expecting good things from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on 24 May regarding the implementation of Level 3 of the COVID-19 national lockdown on 1 June, but there were only small concessions, such as being allowed to sell any personal care product.
Before Ramaphosa’s speech there was plenty of speculation created by a leaked draft proposal concerning Level 3, which included salons being allowed to open with social distancing. This was further confused by some early versions of the president’s address with additional ambiguity regarding social distancing in salons and this being interpreted as a signal to open again.
Sadly, however, in the president’s speech and subsequent press release by the SA Government News Agency, hair salons are still excluded from opening, and are listed under the section ‘High Risk Economic Activities Prohibited’.
The full Government Gazette has not yet been published and maybe there is still an opportunity for government to change its mind. However, at this point in time, no hair treatments are allowed and if you are caught doing so, then you will be in a lot of trouble.
EOHCB (Employers Organisation for Hairdressing Cosmetology Beauty) is continuing with its efforts through the formal government channels and we also have Advocate Carlo Viljoen’s court case on the 27th May for the hair sector, which may or may not make a difference. Salon International spoke to Viljoen about the case and he hopes that the judgement will go his way, however, if not, the court needs to give reasons for rejecting it. If this happens, he will appeal and address the concerns of the court. Basically, Viljoen is contesting the rights of hairdressers to work in order to feed their families. The hearing is scheduled for 10am on 27 May, we will keep you posted.
In conjunction with others, the EOHCB has produced a video with suggested protocols regarding the operation of both hair and beauty salons. To view, click HERE. This is part of an ongoing effort by the EOHCB to get the ban on the industry lifted.
There has been a lot of social media activity regarding the impending court case that Viljoen (assisted by Jade Tomé) has lodged with the Cape High Court. Tomé was interviewed on Radio 702 last week and you can hear the full interview HERE in which she gives a full explanation of the aims of the court action.
Professional Beauty also asked the EOHCB for an idea of where they are currently in their dealings with government and their thoughts on the above mentioned court action. You can see their responses HERE. (Report by Phil Woods)