Barbershops and hairdressers across Turkey will reopen next week after a 50-day hiatus as part of the country's measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Earlier this week, President Tayyip Erdoğan outlined Turkey's normalization process, saying the country was starting to gradually rollback coronavirus containment measures. Shopping malls, barbershops and some stores will be allowed to open on May 11 provided they abide by so-called normalization rules, Erdoğan said.
Şükrü Akyüz, the head of an Istanbul barber's association, said the lockdown period reasserted the importance of the profession.
Hair salons were closed in Turkey on March 21.
"Hairdressers are happy to be back in business. They saw some tough times that burned a hole in their pocket," he said.
He added that say some hairdressers illegally opened their shops during the lockdown while others went to people's homes to sustain a living.
"At the moment, there is a surge of appointments at the shops," he said, adding that the first four days after reopening are fully booked at most hair salons.
The Interior Ministry issued guidelines ahead of the expected opening of barbershops and beauty salons. The shops would need to operate on only a by-appointment basis, customers would have to sit apart from each other, and both clients and stylists would be required to wear masks. Barbers would be allowed to cut hair but not shave facial hair, as per ministry guidelines.
Noting that they will take all necessary precautions, Ayküz said only half the number of seats at the shop will be occupied at a time.
The association is looking into creating a mobile app so that people can schedule appointments.
"We have sent requests to municipalities regarding disinfection of all barbershops. Barbers will also take great responsibility in this process."
He said seats will be disinfected after catering to a customer and equipment will be sterilized. Instead of cloth towels, he said, they will use anti-bacterial wipes.
Shaving at the barbershop is banned for now, he said, adding that this measure will stay in place until the outbreak ends. He went on to say barbers are expected not to raise prices.
As of Wednesday, Turkey reported a total of 131,744 coronavirus cases and 78,202 of them have fully recovered. The country's death toll stood at 3,584.
After originating in China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 187 countries and regions. Europe and the U.S. are currently the worst-hit regions.
The pandemic has killed more than 259,000 people worldwide, with total infections hitting 3.7 million. Recoveries, in the meantime, have surpassed 1.21 million, according to figures compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.