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Monday December 5th, 2022

Sri Lanka barbers seeking towels, salons struggling to obey Covid-19 rules

COVID CONTROLS: A hairdresser in France attending to a customer wearing a mask and plastic face shield.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s barbers do not have enough towels and beauty salons are also struggling to revamp their places of business to operate with cut down services to meet Coronavirus health rules, an industry official said.

Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry has allowed salons and barber shops (called saloons in Sri Lanka) has given permission to open for business from May 11 with cut down services.

“The government allows us to do certain things only,” Sri Lanka Association of Hairdressers and Beauticians (SLAHAB), President, Nayana Karunaratne told EconomyNext.

“We are only permitted to do hair cutting, colouring and certain other services.”

Many barber shops do not have enough towels.

“Also there are some problems because some barber salons doing 30 40 haircuts per day but they don’t use more than 2 three towels. What can we do to them?”

The health ministry has also banned shaving, as it requires the barber to go close to the face of customer which the hair can be cut from behind and from a little distance.

Ministry of Health had asked salon owners to show the salon premises to the Public Health Inspectors to obtain a certificate of permission.

SLAHAB has more than 12, 000 salons registered under them throughout the country.

Karunarathna said SLAHAB has decided to inspect the salon premises and given them support to comply with health rules.

“First of all, after the curfew is over we have to go and train our staff and clean our premises” Karunaratne said.

“After cleaning the salon, we have to fill the applications given to us by the government and ask the PHI to come and supervise. After we get the approval we will decide whether we want to open the salons or not.”

Salons under the SLAHAB in any case has to meet NVQ standards to start the business, Karunaratne said

“We will decide whether the standards are there,” she said. “We have our NVQ standard which was done by the SLAHAB with the Australian government advice.”

Karunaratne said the most important thing for the public and service providers can do is to keep social distance properly to stop the spread.

“It is also a little bit hard because in this industry we have to get close to the customer in order to provide the service,” she said.

“But health and safety is the number one priority.”

Karunaratne also said the salon owners and beauticians are more vulnerable to the virus than the customer.

“Our beauticians are the ones who should be careful because they are working with multiple customers per day.”

Under Sri Lanka’s rules private voluntary testing is currently banned.

Karunaratne said with all the rules and regulations it is vital for the saloons to reopen as soon as possible as they had no livelihood.

“Most of them have to pay rent,” she said. “The government said they will pay our rent, but how can they do that if they can’t even pay state employees’ salaries.” (Colombo/ May 10/2020)

1. General

1.1 The purpose of this guideline is to facilitate limited activities of a salon considering this service as a public need during the prevailing COVID-19 outbreak.

1.2 Only the following procedures shall be performed in the salon

1.2.1 Cutting/trimming of hair

1.2.2 Dyeing of hair

1.2.3 Manicure and pedicure and 1.2.4 Waxing of arms and legs

1.3 Although the Ministry of Health and indigenous Medical services, allows the opening of salons for the above services considering the public need, physical distancing which is a prime control measure cannot be achieved between the barber/dresser and the customer in this setting.

Hence some special measures are described to be adopted in salons if they are to be opened and every facility should strictly ensure that these measures are adopted.

1.4 All the salons permitted to operate under this guideline shall limit their service only to the procedures described in section 1.2 and no other procedure shall be performed, as those procedures increase the risk for both the dresser and the customer.

1.5 The health authorities and the Police will monitor the activities of the salons and appropriate action will be taken against the salons which violate this rule.

2. Procedure for starting the saloon

2.1 Any owner/manager who intends to open his/her salon should make a request to the Medical officer of Health (MOH) in his area.

2.2 The MOH will issue an application together with a checklist (Annex 01) to the owner/manager and request him/her to comply with all the requirements of these guidelines.

2.3 The Owner/Manager shall fill the application and check his establishment against the prescribed checklist in Annex 01 and circle the appropriate answer in column2 of the checklist and handover the application to the MOH.

2.4 Alternatively the Owner/Manager can download the application from the Health Ministry website (health.gov.lk) and fill it and handover to the MOH.

2.5 The MOH shall direct the relevant Public Health Inspector (PHI) to check the facility against the checklist and make recommendations to the MOH.

2.6 The MOH will temporarily register the salon in his office and issue the certificate to commence the salon if the preparedness of the salon is satisfactory. The format of the commencement certificate is annexed to these guidelines as annex 02

2.7No saloon shall operate without a valid written commencement certificate issued by the area MOH.

3. Workforce arrangements

3.1 Larger institutions shall have a written COVID-19 preparedness and a response plan including human resource plan and a dedicated focal point to ensure proper implementation and supervision of the said plan.

3.2 Management should ensure that only the permanent or traceable staff is called for duty. The details of the staff such as addresses, national identity card numbers, telephone numbers, and details of closest relatives should be maintained by the owner/manager and a copy of such a document should be provided to the PHI/MOH of the area.

3.3 Following categories of workers should not report for work Those having fever, with or without acute onset respiratory symptoms such as cough, runny nose, sore throat and/or shortness of breath. Those who have had contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 for the last 14 days. Those who are quarantined for COVID-19.

3.4 The employer should ensure that if a sick person reports for work, he/she is sent back home immediately.

3.5 Anyone entering the premises (both visitors and workers) should wash their hands with soap and water before entering. (Foot operated tap is the best for the wash basin). Alternatively hand rubbing with alcohol based hand rub (minimum 70% v/v Alcohol) can be adopted.

Disinfecting chambers are not recommended. Use the hand sanitizer after using the fingerprint scanner if available. Fingerprint scanner shall be disinfected before and after each shift. Additional optional measures are to remove their shoes by all the staff at the entrance.

3.6 Check temperatures of all the staff and customers at the entrance. Any person recording a temperature above 98.4°F or 37 °C should be rechecked after 10-15 minutes of rest and if positive for the second time sent him/her back. Thermal scanner has to be of Medical grade.

4. Specific measures

4.1 Barber/dresser shall wear a mask and a goggle/eye shield throughout when attending to customers.

4.2 A foot operated bin for discarding used masks and tissues should be provided.

4.3 Ensure keeping everyone (dresser and customers) at the salon at least 1 meter physically apart except during the procedure. Number of customers entering the salon should be limited according to the space available in order to maintain distance of 1 meter. An appointment system is recommended

4.4 Furniture should be rearranged to ensure physical distancing.

4.5 Limit the number of persons in the waiting area. It is recommended that clients wait outside the salon in their vehicles until the barber is ready to serve them.

4.6 Limit physical interactions between workers, workers and staff.

4.7 Remove all unnecessary items such as magazines, newspapers, service menus, other unnecessary paper products and decor.

4.8 Every barber/dresser should wash his hands thoroughly with soap and water between each customer served.

4.09 Barber/dresser should always attend to the customer from behind and sides only and should never encounter face-to face.

4.10 Avoid sharing equipment and tools between barbers/dressers,

4.11 The service has to be performed in the minimum required time to limit exposure.

4.12 All linen (towels & capes) used should be washed after each use and should never be used on another customer without washing. The salon should have adequate amounts of linen at least for 2 days.

4.13 Shaving beards/mustache is not recommended.

4.14 Razor blades should be disposed of immediately after use and should never be reused.

4.15 Barber should never touch the lips of the customer.

4.16 Air conditioners with re-circulation of air are not recommended.

4.17 Leave the doors open as much as possible to avoid contact. If kept closed the door knobs/handles shall be cleaned and disinfected every three hours. Alternatively a separate employer can be kept to open and close the door for customers.

4.18All the services provided in the institution and all the special measures taken at the saloon shall be displayed both inside and outside the salon prominently for the customers to read and also be explained.

4.19 Ensure the strict supervision and monitoring of adherence to above measures.

5. Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.

5.1 In addition to the regular housekeeping practices, floor, equipment,and furniture should be sanitized every day before commencing work. Disinfect all furniture tops including the reception counter and chairs in waiting areas before starting the day. (Refer to disinfection in section 3.3 in the main guideline)

5.2 Disinfect the chair, the worktop and all the equipment and tools including combs and hair brushes after been used for one customer before they are used on another customer as per section 3.3 of the main guideline.

6. Waste disposal

Cut hair, nail shall be collected on to a waste collection bag after serving each customer. Once the bag is full tie it properly and store safely and should be disposed only after a week. There should be another bag to collect used disposable personal disposable items like masks, tissues and wipes. This bag also need to be disposed as mentioned above.

For further details, please refer, OPERATIONAL GUIDELINES ON PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE FOR COVID-19 OUTBREAK FOR WORK SETTINGS, Interim guidance dated 17th April 2020 document published by the Environmental and Occupational Health and Food Safety Directorate of the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services.

For any Inquiries about this guideline please contact

Dr. Ashman Gamlath, Deputy Director General (E,OH&FS) at Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical services on 071-7723232 or by email on Itgamlath@gmail.comor

Dr. Thilak Siriwardane, Director (E&OH) on 071-4499222 or by E-mail on avissawella2003@gmail.com

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Time right for elections, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna ready to face any poll: Basil

File photo: SLPP national organiser Basil Rajapaksa

ECONOMYNEXT — The time has come for an election in Sri Lanka and the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) is ready to face any election, SLPP national organiser Basil Rajapaksa said, dismissing claims that the party has come to fear elections in the face of growing unpopularity and increased factionalisation.

Speaking to reporters at an event held in Colombo Monday December 05 morning to mark the fourth anniversary of the party’s media centre, Rajapaksa handwaved off assertions that the SLPP has splintered in the wake of the mass protests that ousted his brother and former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

“No, our party hasn’t fragmented, not the way this cake was cut,” he said, pointing to the cake that was cut to celebrate the media centre’s anniversary.

“There may be some [dissenters], but we are with the people,” said Rajapaksa.

Political analysts, however, note that the once mighty SLPP has indeed fractured to at least four or five distinct factions. One group, according to party sources, is with President Ranil Wickremesinghe who is keen to involve younger SLPP legislators in his economic reform agenda. The second is with former Media Minister Dullas Alahapperuma who launched an unsuccessful bid for the presidency and was roundly defeated by Wickremesinghe at the July 19 presidential vote in parliament. The third group now sits as independent MPs in parliament, while a fourth faction are with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the SLPP patriarch.

There is another group that remains loyal to Basil Rajapaksa, though all but one SLPP legislator voted for the 21st amendment to the constitution that prohibited dual citizens from entering parliament. Rajapaksa, a dual citizen with US passport, recently returned to the island after a private visit to his second home.

The former finance minister, who resigned after a wave of protests that demanded his departure along with that of his presidential brother, for their alleged role in Sri Lanka’s prevailing currency crisis, the worst in decades, was in a jovial mood at the anniversary event on Monday and was seen heartily indulging reporters who were throwing loaded question after loaded question at him.

Asked about future plans of the SLPP, Rajapaksa quipped that they couldn’t be revealed to the media at this stage.

“However, time has come for an election. It’s difficult to say how it will be at present, but as a party, we’re ready to face any election,” he said.

Rajapaksa’s apparent confidence in facing an election is in direct contrast to speculation that the SLPP is banking on President Wickremesinghe’s refusal to dissolve parliament anytime soon. Opposition lawmakers have accused Wickremesinghe of providing sanctuary and promising security to the deeply unpopular party by not calling early elections.

“We have won every election we faced so far. We are thankful to the Sri Lankan people for that. If we were unable to meet their expectations 100 percent, we regret that. We will correct any shortcomings and will work to fulfill the people’s aspirations,” said Rajapaksa.

Asked if he is going to remain in active politics despite the blanket ban on dual citizens, the former minister said, again with a chuckle: “Active politics… well, I’m not in governance anymore. Governance [for me] has been banned by the 21st amendment. So no, I’m not in governance, but I am in politics,” he said.

Pressed about possibly entering parliament again, he said: “How can I?”

Nor is Rajapaksa saddened by the development, he claimed. “No, I’m happy about it,” he said.

The former two-time finance minister, noted for his clash of views with Wickremesinghe when the latter was invited by then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for a round of discussions on economic recovery, was cautiously complimentary when asked about the new president. It was the SLPP’s backing that guaranteed Wickremesinghe his lifelong ambition.

“I think that selection was the correct one. We have maintained from the start that all of us in government or opposition must be able to freely engage in politics,” he said, referring to assurances that the president has purportedly given SLPP parliamentarians that they will not face the kind of retaliatory mob violence that engulfed the nation on May 09 after alleged SLPP goons attacked peaceful anti-government protestors in Colombo.

A reporter asked if Rajapaksa believes the incumbent president is capable of taking the country on the right path to recovery?

“The first task was accomplished, by allowing us to engage in politics and to get on the streets. There are economic and other issues, and we have high hopes that they will be resolved,” he said. (Colombo/Dec05/2022)

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Sri Lanka proposed power tariff not to recover past losses: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – The government has not proposed a power tariff increase to recover past losses, Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera in response to a statement attributed the head of the power regulator commission.

“The proposal that was presented was for an automatic cost reflective tariff mechanism to be implemented to supply uninterrupted power & to recover the current cost of power supply,” Minister Wijesekera said in twitter.com message.

“Govt has not proposed to recover past loses of CEB from a tariff revision…”

The cabinet of ministers had given the nod tariff revisions twice a year to prevent large losses from building up as in the past.

The Public Utilities Commission has disputed costs protected for the power utility saying the petroleum utility was keeping large margins in selling fuel.

The government in a budget for 2022 also proposed to tax surcharge to recover losses.

The regulator also disputed power demand forecasts.

Also read; Sri Lanka regulator disputes CEB costs, demand projections for 2023

The PUCSL cannot increase tariffs to recover past losses, Chairman Janaka Ratnayake said. (Colombo/Dec05/2022)

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Sri Lanka’s shares gain in mid market trade

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares edged up in mid day trade on Monday (05), continuing the positive run for seven straight sessions on news over a possible debt restructuring from Paris Club, analysts said.

All Share Price Index gained by 0.69% or 60.10 points to 8,829, while the most liquid shares gained by 0.96% or 26.59 points to 2,801.

“The market was pushed up over the news of a potential 10 year debt moratorium,” analysts said.

The Paris Club group of creditor nations has proposed a 10-year debt moratorium on Sri Lankan debt and 15 years of debt restructuring as a formula to resolve the island nation’s prevailing currency crisis. 

Related – Paris Club proposes 10-year moratorium in 15-year Sri Lanka debt re-structure: report

The market generated a revenue of 2.1 billion rupees.

Top gainers during 1130 hours were Expolanka, Browns Investment and LOLC.  (Colombo/Dec05/2022)

 

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