Hair salon operators reject operations during MCO, citing fears over health and safety

by NUR HANANI AZMAN/ graphic by MZUKRI

HAIR salon owners have rejected the government’s decision to allow barber shops to operate during Phase 3 of Movement Control Order (MCO), citing health and safety concerns.

Malaysian Hairdressing Association said in a statement on Saturday that 91% of its members do not agree to resume their businesses for the time being.

“It is impossible to maintain a distance of one metre during haircutting. Both the customer and hairdresser are in a state of being easily infected by the virus,” the association said.

“Hair cut should not be listed as a needed essential service. Long hair or short hair does not matter, the most important thing now is to stay alive,” it added.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in his daily briefing yesterday said it is up to the International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) to decide on the resumption of barber shops.

Last week, the Cabinet allowed several additional economic sectors to operate in phases on condition of strict adherence to health and safety guidelines.

Senior Minister and MITI Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the government’s decision was based on findings from studies that indicate that the spread of Covid-19 would not only have a significant impact on health.

“One of the sectors that will be allowed to operate is automotive, which is limited to exports of complete built-up, parts and components, and after-sale services, for example, maintenance.

“Other sectors include machinery and equipment, aerospace, construction projects and services related to construction works,” he said in a statement.

Construction projects whereby the main contractors are G1-G2 and which have achieved physical progress of 90% and above are allowed to resume operations. Operations include tunnelling, maintenance, sloping and emergency works that are consequent to contractual obligations.

Subsequently, maintenance, cleaning and drying of stagnant water and spraying of pesticides at construction sites which prevent the breeding of Aedes mosquitoes and other pests.

According to MITI, other works that if left incomplete may result in danger should also resume, including projects with a 70-IBS (industrialised building system) score and above.

“Construction projects with accommodation facilities for workers, such as centralised quarters for workers or workers’ camp (are also permitted to resume).

“(Including) professional services related to the construction industry including architects, engineers, town planners, land surveyors, quantity surveyors, project managers, facility managers and other relevant services,” he said.

Besides that, science, professional and technical services, including research and development (R&D), services incidental to legal practice, services incidental to oil and gas, R&D activities related to Covid-19 and testing labs for the sectors are allowed to operate.

“Same goes to social health services including registered traditional and complementary medicine practitioners.

“Hardware shops, electrical and electronics stores, optometrists in the wholesale and retail industry, barber shops (offering haircuts only) and laundry services (only those offering full-service and do not include self-service laundrettes) are allowed to operate,” he said.

Companies in the sectors listed may submit their application to MITI beginning today from 9am.

All applications must be made online at MITI’s website, www.miti.gov.my. Only applications that are complete and fulfil the conditions will be processed.

Companies in the sectors that have been allowed to operate must comply with the requirements of the standard operating procedure.

In addition to adhering to these enhanced terms and guidelines, operating permits are also subject to compliance with the requirements set by the Ministry of Healthy and guidelines by other relevant enforcement agencies from time to time.

Failure to comply will result in the immediate revocation of the operating permit and legal action.

MITI has reviewed the additional sectors which have been allowed to operate based on their importance in the global value chain and the country’s exports.

This step is to ensure the stability of export activities and activity of economic sectors with a high value-added multiplier.

Other factors include the impact on the sustainability of small and medium enterprises in the economic sector, particularly in manufacturing and services with significant workforce size involved.