MARGAO: The local Goan barbers elked out a living by their skill which they acquired from generations to generations and with
hardly any relaxation during the lockdown since last one and half years many across the state are going through hardships.
Hit by the pandemic since beginning of last year and the high-risk nature of their business amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand of the local barbers around Goa for a financial package from the state government led Dr Pramod Sawant has fallen on deaf years as their voice is not so strong that it can reach the corridors of power many barbers alleged.
The government has in phases has declared financial packages to other sectors and left the barber community to fend for themselves they complained.
They said that the state government should also deliver financial help to salon owners and barbers of Goan origin who are serving the Goan community since ages and now with their business in doldrums its difficult even to survive they said.
It’s been a particularly shocking blow to the grooming industry, which has been resilient even in the face of economic slump and now with their shutters down it’s a dead end many felt.
As the nature of the business itself is a huge risk considering the proximity to which the barbers have to be with the client while cutting hair or while shaving, the pandemic has left this small business owners and employees worried about how they will make a living.
Many barbershops are shut permanently as many owners complained of the business and as well as pressure from their families in view of the prevailing situation.
“Our business is run by people on whom the entire family is financially dependent. We don’t charge thousands of bucks from the people as we don’t work in big malls. If these restrictions and the pandemic goes the situation will be grim for us” said one of the hairdressers in the outskirts of Margao town as he expressed his rage.
The local hair cutting salon is a renowned place where locals get together to discuss the chronicles of their day-to-day lives to local news highlights to politics from the comfort of a salon chair or the benches laid on the sides of these cramped spaces.
But the Covid-19 pandemic has brought the barbers world to an abrupt stop, many hair stylists faced a challenge with how they would continue to support themselves and service their customers.
The countryside barbershops and salons are cultural hotspots and gathering places, the lockdown has hit both the hairstylists and the community hard.
The COVID aftermath has left the local barbers in the hair care business under financial stress, given the inconsistent stay-at-home orders and social distancing restrictions that has not only has put a limit on clientele but due to the fear of the dreaded disease people are getting their hair cut from their own family members informed Anil Bhagat.
The recent order from the government may allow the opening up of barbershops from next week but the barbers are sceptical about people coming to them for an haircut and with the Covid-19 pandemic not going anywhere any soon it is anybodies guess on how they and their families cope up with the financial stress unless the government comes up with some realistic package for them as hair cutting is the only skill they have for a living most of the barbers to whom this correspondent spoke said.