Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 6
Non-essential commercial ventures, including parlours and salons, suffered heavy losses due to the lockdown in April. While rental charges pose a major concern for those in beauty businesses, those employed in the sector have not received their salaries for April.
Around 60 per cent of the staff at salons are urban migrants (mostly women and transgenders), especially from the North-East. Most of them want to return to their hometowns, fearing unemployment.
Richa Agarwal, owner of Cleopatra, a salon chain with seven branches across tricity, says, “In Chandigarh, gyms, spas and parlours were closed on March 15. Having saved up on GST and other expenses, we have suffered losses worth Rs 10 lakh.” The salon employs 250 staff members with an average income of Rs 20,000 per person. “We pay heavy rents, and even if salons open by June, people may not come due to the Covid fear. The business will continue to suffer losses if the situation remains the same,” she adds.
Rekha, 45, a freelancer, said, “I am going home to Uttarakhand. I haven’t been able to make any money in April. I had barely saved enough for me and my son to get through June. I can’t take risk.”
Things have not been any different for Veer Kaul of Headmasters. “Our sector has mostly women entrepreneurs. At our three branches in the tricity, nearly 150 people work. Sixty per cent staff comprises migrants from Uttarakhand and North-East, most of whom will be unemployed if the business shuts. We haven’t been able to pay our staff for April because there’s no money,” he says. With no sales from mid-March to April, Veer pegs his approximate losses at Rs 25 lakh.
Tamanna, a transgender, who works at a small parlour in Mohali, says, “We have been asked to stay at home and we haven’t been paid a penny. I don’t know what to do.”
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