Sauna service ban costs barbershops a lot

Jeddah Municipality’s recent decision to ban barber shops in Jeddah from providing sauna services to customers has caused heavy losses to the owners with a major cut in their monthly income.

The decision came in the wake of violations of health standards in the sauna department in these barber shops and negligence in acquiring a permit from the municipality to perform these services. “It is a clear violation of the law and these barber shops risk being shut down by the inspection teams on one of their rounds,” an inspector of the Jeddah Municipality told Arab News.

Many barber shops in Jeddah depend on the sauna and stream bath services to pay for the rent and electricity bills. “I need to earn SR500 a day to pay my workers and cover other costs,” the owner of a barber shop said adding that haircuts are not enough to pay for the expenses.

“Clients pay only SR20 for a haircut and SR10 to have their beards shaped. If I depend on these services, I would earn only SR100 a day whereas saunas bring in at least SR350 a day,” Mohammed Rajab, an Egyptian barber, said.

“Many clients come here to enjoy the relaxing sauna treatment which is very popular. We used to offer limited services like haircuts at one time, but the rental costs and other expenses were much lower then,” he added.

“I may have to close my shop if there are no profits. I have an agreement with my barbers to bring me SR5000 as my monthly share in the profits. If they can no longer afford to do that, then I will have to close my shop,” said Abdul Hameed Al-Saiaeri, owner of a barbershop in Jeddah.

However, there are some barbers who continue to operate sauna services on the sly at the risk of getting caught by the municipality.

“The decision to ban the sauna services will have a negative impact on our business. We will lose the majority of our clients and what’s more, we will incur huge losses as well,” Essam Qandoor added.





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