Cash-strapped hairdressers urge Bank Negara to ease loan regulations

Barbers and hair salons have been unable to open for business since the movement control order was enforced in mid-March. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Hairdressers who have seen zero income for the past two and a half months due to the partial lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 have turned to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) for help, urging the central bank to ease regulations to enable them to secure loans as they struggle to stay afloat.

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Hairdressing Association deputy president Akilan Anandakrishnan said many hairdressers are in fact on the brink of closure and need these loans in order to survive.

Many who have applied for loans have had their applications rejected, he added.

“Hairdressers are appealing to BNM to review its terms and conditions so that our applications can be approved as soon as possible,” he told FMT.

Hair salons are among the businesses that have been closed since mid-March when the movement control order (MCO) was implemented, essentially shutting down most public activity.

Although the majority of businesses have been allowed to reopen under the conditional MCO which began on May 4, hairdressers are still waiting for the green light.

In the meantime, Akilan said, rental and staff salaries must still be paid.

“We have no income but our overheads are still running.”

He said hairdressers recently held a series of meetings with the international trade and industry ministry where a list of proposed standard operating procedures (SOPs) was submitted.

The SOPs include:

  • Temperature checks for all customers
  • All customers and hairdressers to wear three-ply face masks
  • Hairdressers to record the details of each customer
  • Limited operating hours
  • Chairs and other surface areas to be sanitised after each customer is served

Akilan said hairdressers understand the delay in announcement of new operating dates as the government needs to ensure that all safety aspects are covered before they are allowed to reopen.

However, he reiterated that many are running out of money.

“Some have closed down their businesses already. We are hoping BNM will step in and have discussions with banks on ways for us to apply for loans.”

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