Hairdressers, beauty technicians, spa operators and barbers, among other professionals, will be returning to work today, as announced by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at Saturday’s media briefing.
In anticipation of the reopening of his shop, barber Keyv Young of Q-Styler Barbering and Skincare, in Barataria, was one of many people who spent yesterday sanitising and cleaning their office.
According to Young, the last two months of closure have been extremely difficult.
“I wish you could see under my shirt right now. My pores are rising. I’m excited. I am looking forward to serving my clients,” a visibly-excited Young said.
He added: “Our clients have been booking continuously on our booking page, which is fantastic. It’s good to know that we were missed.”
While the anticipation builds, however, Young has some issues to address.
Closed for two months, some bills had to be cut, he said, while he’s still owing on others.
“That has been a challenge all in itself, so much so that I’m still having to deal with paying those bills because some of these service providers aren’t as accommodating as I would have hoped,” he lamented.
Celeste Thomas, the owner of Melanin Magic, a small makeup services business, never imagined she would have had to wait two months to brush up a client’s face again.
She admitted a lack of funds took a toll on her business and her mental state but used the time at home to step up her marketing strategies.
“I started doing more lives, and interacting more with clients on social media, just to keep them there. To keep their interest,” Thomas said.
Asked what her reaction was to the Prime Minister’s announcement on Saturday, she laughed and said jokingly that,” It was just as good as hearing that KFC is going to be re-opened.”
“It was a relief. It was an ease. It was a reassurance that you can go back to making money and doing this without having that restraint,” she added.
Unlike Young and Thomas, Crysande Hochst is not overly-moved by today’s reopening.
For the owner of Crysande’s Spa and Makeup Studios Limited, the damage to her finances, and by extension, her business has been done.
“I’m glad it’s open, but it’s not all smiles. All the money people had to borrow, beg and steal has to be paid back, so I’ll have to see how it goes,” she lamented.
In the two months closed, her phone was disconnected, while she was nearly forced to give up her vehicle.
“Challenging is an understatement. My mother had to go into her pension money to get $7,200 for me to keep my car,” she said.
“My mother, who is a pensioner, is also bringing groceries for me and my 8-month-old daughter right now. That is my current situation,” Hochst added.
Her suffering though, Hochst claimed, pales in comparison to the suffering of other people she knows.
Last month, a member of her business’s Facebook group, posted a plea for help, saying her family was surviving off eating mangoes.
That plea was followed by dozens of others.
Her business group turned quickly into a hub, primarily focused on offering assistance to those in need.
“I raised money when an internet company was disconnecting people. We raised money in my group to pay a woman’s bill because she was doing online school for her 10-year-old and she needed the internet,” she said.
The social grants, she claimed, have not been getting to those most in need.
She applied but received nothing.
Her eight employees, now down to two, applied but also received nothing.
In April, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the government set aside $400 million for social grant payments for April, May and June.
On June 6 he tweeted that 41,000 grants have been distributed at a cost of $70 million.