Joburg hairdresser breaches lockdown regulations to make ends meet

File. /AFP / JOHN THYS

An urgent court bid for permission for hairdressers to return to work was dismissed in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

Hairdressing will remain closed under Level 3 of the nationwide lockdown, which is set to kick in on 1 June.

Some hairdressers have now gone underground, at the risk of getting Covid-19 or of getting arrested.

A Johannesburg-based hairdresser has resorted to conducting business illegally after losing his income due to the nationwide lockdown that began on 26 March.

“The lockdown hasn’t treated me well since I can’t even [legally] work. I don’t know how I’m going to pay rent, send money to my parents and continue looking after my two children,” he said.

The man, who cannot be named, told News24 in isiZulu that he would rather risk getting arrested because he desperately needed the money. The usually law-abiding citizen has been “forced” to break the law to make a living and meet all of his financial commitments.

“I am scared of getting arrested but there’s no other option,” he added.

The hairdresser told News24 that when the lockdown first began, he didn’t do anything for about three weeks. When the Level 4 lockdown started, he began receiving business.

“I was doing nothing, just sitting indoors. But once Level 4 was announced, I started approaching clients, although it wasn’t easy because in the beginning, many were scared for their lives, thinking they would catch the virus from us,” he said.

“Things are a little better now but they are still quite bad, because I’m not making nearly enough now to cover my living expenses and people are still fearful of us coming to their homes,” he added.

The hairdresser said he only managed to do business with three clients a week, at most, and added that some cancelled at the last minute. He said he increased his prices slightly to keep his client base and added that he understood that everyone was struggling.

Advocate Carlo Viljoen and his team of associates at Victor Online Legal Consultancy lost their urgent court bid on Thursday, which was lodged on behalf of financially distressed hairdressers who wanted the go-ahead to go back to work.

The court blow came at around the same time that the government announced that hairdressing businesses would be among the personal care services that would remain closed.

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