Business slow for most beauty salons and spas as mask-off services resume

Services that require masks to be removed at establishments like beauty salons are allowed to resume for fully vaccinated customers.
Services that require masks to be removed at establishments like beauty salons are allowed to resume for fully vaccinated customers.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Several beauty salons and spas said business was slow, despite being able to provide mask-off personalised care, with facials, saunas and make-up services resuming from Tuesday (Aug 10).

Under relaxed measures, services that require masks to be removed at these establishments were allowed to resume for fully vaccinated customers. Such services had been ordered to cease from July 22 under phase two (heightened alert) curbs.

Of the eight beauty salons and spas The Straits Times spoke to, five said demand for facials and make-up services was sluggish because some customers were wary of booking appointments as new Covid-19 clusters continue to emerge, while others were not yet fully vaccinated.

Ms Hazel Hew, a receptionist at Adeva Spa in Paragon shopping mall, said the outlet had 10 bookings for facial treatments on Tuesday, down from 20 to 30 such bookings a day before phase two (heightened alert) restrictions kicked in.

"The response (in demand) won't happen so quickly. Some customers said they are still worried about the Covid-19 situation and are scared of taking off their masks for facials.

"We follow the rules closely and will check customers' TraceTogether app to make sure they are fully vaccinated, but we understand their concerns."

Ms Hew added that she expects business to pick up from next week if the number of local cases continues to drop.

Ms Yvonne Sin, a manager at Maska Beauty and Therapy Centre in Ang Mo Kio, said that over the long weekend her staff called customers who had earlier cancelled their bookings to tell them they could return to the salon from Tuesday.

But the take-up has been slow. Ms Sin said in Mandarin: "Some are likely waiting for the cases to drop. Other customers could be working from home, and don't require facial services. It'll be some time before business improves."

Some spa complexes have adopted their own measures to ensure only customers who are fully vaccinated engage in mask-off activities.

A spokesman for Yunomori Onsen and Spa in Kallang Wave Mall said the establishment issues patrons disposable wristbands when they enter the spa if their TraceTogether app indicates that they are fully vaccinated. These customers have the option of removing their masks in the spa's onsen facility.

However, the spa is not accepting reservations for facials or reopening its steam room and sauna until Aug 19, and hopes to be able to resume more services for both vaccinated and unvaccinated customers then, added the spokesman.

But bookings for facial treatments were swift at the Spa Esprit outlet at Wheelock Place following the relaxation of measures.

A receptionist at the outlet who wanted to be known only as Rara said slots for facial treatments on Friday and the coming weekend were fully booked. She added that phone lines were busy over the weekend with calls from customers eager to go for facials again.

Mr Chai Poh Zheng, 22, who has a facial package at the SkinLab The Medical Spa outlet in Westgate mall in Jurong, booked an appointment for Aug 19 after the outlet called him early last week to encourage him to do so.

The second-year student at Singapore Management University told ST: "I am not concerned about exposing myself to the virus because only one staff member will be attending to me during the facial, and I trust that they follow the necessary safety measures anyway."