Salons, barbershops allowed in GCQ areas starting June 7

Pia Ranada
Only haircutting will be allowed. Facials, eyebrow services, and nail services are still prohibited, says Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.

PREPPING FOR OPENING DAY. Gupitan, a salon and  barbershop along Timog Avenue in Quezon City on May 30, 2020, prepares for the reopening of its services as the government relaxes quarantine measures. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – After a series of intense discussions, the national government coronavirus task force has greenlit the reopening of salons and barbershops in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), starting June 7.

“Under GCQ, you can open but only up to 30% capacity and then only starting on June 7. After two weeks, this can be increased to 50%,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said during a virtual press briefing on Saturday, May 30.

Salons and barbershops in areas under modified GCQ (MGCQ) can already start operations at half capacity. After 3 weeks, they can operate at full capacity.

But in all quarantine zones, salons and barbershops can only do haircutting services, said Roque. Manicure, pedicure, facials, and eyebrow services are still prohibited given the difficulty to impose physical distancing for these types of services.

As with all businesses, barbershops and salons must observe mask-wearing, physical distancing, disinfection of high-touch surfaces, and enable cashless payment systems if possible.

Customers are required to wear closed shoes, should not wear jewelry, and should not bring a companion unless absolutely necessary.

Check the Department of Trade and Industry guidelines here:

The decision to allow salons and barbershops is laid out in Resolution No. 41 of the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID). 

Complicated discussions

The debate on salons, barbershops, and other personal care services has been long and contentious in task force meetings.

“Alam ninyo, siguro po mga 25 hours na ang nagugol ng IATF dito sa usaping barbero at sa totoo lang, bumalentong na ang IATF diyan – pumayag, binawi,” said Roque on Friday, May 29.

(You know, the IATF probably devoted around 25 hours to this discussion on barbershops and it’s true that the IATF changed tune on that – allowed them, then took it back.)

A month ago, the government had that announced salons, barbershops, and spas could open in GCQ areas because many people considered them “essential services.”

“Many people requested that these are really essential services. Though we know there is direct contact, but avoiding direct contact using face shields, masks, and gloves is doable,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez back then.

But the task force eventually took this back, realizing imposing physical distancing would be a challenge and more guidelines were needed.

Salons and barbershops were then asked to demonstrate to government officials how they would observe health protocols. This was partly the basis for the decision to finally allow them to reopen. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.