There was a slow start for personal care businesses in Tobago yesterday, as the sector resumed operations following a period of closure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Owners said they anticipate business will pick up by the end of the week but they were happy to be back in business.
However, they remain anxious after the Ministry of Health announced that operations will be allowed to operate “until further notice.”
While they expressed concern about the impending arrival of the Delta variant, they said they may only be able to break even, as operational costs have gone up.
Randell Duff, of Gifted Hands Barber and Beauty Salon at Crown Point, said he felt a series of mixed emotions when he reopened yesterday after being closed for months.
“I feel a sense of excitement and nervousness when I flipped my open sign because while I’m happy to reopen, there is still a lot of uncertainty. A lot of people are now unemployed and we see the Ministry of Health sending out a release saying we are opened until further notice, so there is still a lot of uncertainty.”
As he reflected on the lockdown period, Duff described the experience as very hard, as he is unaccustomed to “just doing nothing.”
“I mean, you do small projects and things around the house but it was difficult to not get up and go and earn a living. This is something I was not accustomed to, so it was very difficult for me.”
However, Shimmel Williams, owner of Hair by Shimmel at Glen Road, said she will not open until late September, as she has taken a personal decision on her safety.
“I am definitely happy that we can reopen but I recently decided to get vaccinated and I will wait until I am fully vaccinated before I accept clients.”
Although Shimmel did not open, she went to her salon to clean up.
“I usually check in from time to time to come in and make sure everything is okay and to just tidy up a bit, so I came out but I believe that it is only a matter of time before the Delta arrives so I don’t want to take chances.”
Owner of Gifted Hands Hair Lounge and Spa at Scarborough, Shelagh Victor, was elated to be back in business. She said she was even more excited to implement several ideas and business enhancement tools she gained during her downtime.
“I am ready to transform my business. During my downtime I did some research, especially on the management side, I plan to also offer a line of hair and beauty products and products that also promote overall nutrition.”
On the ministry’s circular, Victor said, “At this stage, I think the general public has gotten the picture, you hardly see persons without masks and business places have taken the steps to ensure they can operate. As it relates to vaccination I believe it’s a personal choice, but I am doing my part – no overcrowding appointments only handwashing, masks and constant sanitising.”