‘A mask doesn’t cost more than a franc’: Anger as Swiss hairdressers add coronavirus surcharge

‘A mask doesn’t cost more than a franc’: Anger as Swiss hairdressers add coronavirus surcharge
A hairdresser and a customer wearing protective gear in Geneva. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
Open since Monday, April 27th, Swiss hairdressers have drawn criticism for adding a coronavirus surcharge to the usual price of a haircut.

While some customers have criticised the move, hairdressers have said it was necessary to cover the significant losses they have incurred due to the coronavirus. 

The surcharge, which has ranged from CHF1 to CHF5 in hairdressers across the country has been charged to cover the costs of masks, disposable aprons and disinfectants used to prevent the spread of the virus. 

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Speaking to SRF magazine Espresso, customers have said that the move is akin to profiteering. 

“There are some who are making money off the coronavirus crisis. I don’t think that’s right,” one customer said. 

“A mask doesn’t cost more than a franc.”

The hairdressers themselves have however said including the surcharge should be a decision made by each salon on the basis of the underlying circumstances. 

Coiffeur Suisse, the industry representative body, said that surcharges have not been made mandatory but are up to the discretion of individual salons. 

Brigitte Hodel, Vice President of Coiffeur Suisse, told SRF that not only were salons forced to purchase additional protective material, but that more work was needed to clean and prepare the salon in between customer visits – which could mean fewer appointments across the day. 

Many salons are keeping every second chair free, which also means fewer customers despite a surge in demand for hairdressing services. 

Hodel also said customers who brought their own protective equipment would be able to pay a lower amount, while emphasising that the surcharge was only temporary. 

“When everything normalises again (after the coronavirus crisis) we will surely cancel this surcharge.”

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