Thousands of workers and entrepreneurs associated with Hong Kong’s beauty industry made an online appeal on Thursday against extended business closures due to coronavirus. 

As many as 14 associations joined the live-streamed campaign, demanding the government allow operators to reopen so they can earn a living.

Ruby Wan, a spokeswoman of Let Us Work, a joint platform that organized the virtual event, told Anadolu Agency that “the industry asks for reopening of their beauty parlor business, as there is no COVID-19 cluster within the beauty industry.”

“This proves the effectiveness of their epidemic prevention measures,” she said. “The closure of beauty parlors is a meaningless sacrifice.”

Representatives accused the government of turning a blind eye to the demands of the industry, which was forced to shut down for 114 days last year and will remain closed until at least later this month.

Beauty businesses were most recently ordered to suspend operations from Dec. 10, with the policy extended till Jan. 20. Bars, amusement parks, and sports venues were also shut.

Industry leaders said around 56,000 workers in the beauty sector are in dire straits due to no work.

Lamenting insufficient financial support, they demanded the government to take note of their difficulties, hold dialogue, and let them get back to work.

He Shaozhong, the chairman of the Hong Kong Cosmetics Industry Association who also moderated the event, said the current subsidy can only cover rent at most, and not wages and other costs.

Beauty parlors were entitled to a one-off allowance of between HK$30,000 ($3,869) and HK$100,000 ($12,898) each under the latest HK$6.4 billion ($826 million) coronavirus relief package announced last month.

He said that if the government allows the industry to resume work, they are willing to follow requirements such as mandating staff to obtain a negative test result before going to work, shortening business hours, and receiving guests through appointment only.

“I believe the government will hear the voice of the industry and respond as soon as possible,” Ye Shixiong, the founding chairman of the Hong Kong Beauty Industry Association, said.

The semi-autonomous Chinese city has confirmed more than 9,000 COVID-19 cases and 154 related deaths.

*Waleed Tariq contributed to this report

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