ROME (Reuters) – The nail care section at the Femme salon in Rome looks almost like a prison visiting room with rows of people on one side of the glass partition and visitors on the other.
A beauty expert who wears a face mask protects her beauty salon to ensure safety for customers and staff before reopening on May 18, when Italy continues to end locked restrictions due to coronavirus (COVID-19), in Rome, Italy May 14, 2020. REUTERS / Remo Casilli
The only difference is that there is a slot in the middle of each counter where customers can move their hands to the other side.
Welcome to the brave new world that looks good in post-coronavirus Italy, where barber shops and beauty salons will be allowed to reopen Monday along with retail stores and restaurants – all under strict social and hygiene rules.
In Femme, a large salon in the middle-class area of Rome that was built, beauty experts are preparing nail files, scissors, combs, and other equipment.
On Monday, each item will be individually packaged in a small plastic wrap and put together in one bag per customer. Whatever is not thrown away will be cleaned after use.
Pink ribbons lined the salon floor, with a large circle showing customers where they should wait. A small number of customers will be allowed in and staff will wear masks and gloves at all times.
The Italian health authority has issued specific guidelines for barbers and beauticians, whose sector counts around 260,000 jobs, because their business is considered very risky due to close physical contact.
Workers have been told to have conversations with clients while looking at them in the mirror and not directly in the face.
Magazines and other items that could be handed from hand to hand also came out.
Barber shops, which tend to be much smaller than beauty salons, must work on one customer’s reservation system at a time and keep their shop doors open.
Coronavirus is also expected to suppress the retail mode trade. At the Spazioespanso upper-class women’s clothing store in central Rome, manager Alberto Volpe said it would be difficult to adapt to new routines, space and rules.
“The challenges are enormous, so large that they are difficult to measure, and the most important thing is uncertainty. A sense of uncertainty dominates everything, “he said.
At the Michelin one-star Marco Martini restaurant, the measuring tape comes out as staff check the new distance between the tables and the waiters practice their skills in serving safely.
“All our energy, all the time we spend on our couch in these locked months, will we put it all in the frying pan,” said owner Marco Martini.
“But our passion, dreams and perseverance will remain the same as before, if not stronger,” he said.
Writing by Philip Pullella; Editing by Hugh Lawson
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