Covid-19 pandemic spurs on new hand washing innovation

Jeff Chibvamushure showing the oil drums he had turned into a hand-washing stations. The drums come in different colours./SUPPLIED
Jeff Chibvamushure showing the oil drums he had turned into a hand-washing stations. The drums come in different colours./SUPPLIED

A couple that had to close their salon business as a result of the coronavirus pandemic is now supplying outdoor hand-washing stations using old oil drums.

Jeff Chibvamushure, 46, and his wife Priscilla, 41, owners of Giggles and Kurls hair salon in Randburg, northern Johannesburg, said the oil drums come with a soap dispenser attached and pipes to connect to your existing water source.

"Sometimes it takes a crisis to spur an innovation. When we closed our salon at the beginning of the lockdown, we did not know how we were going to survive. We never thought the lockdown will be extended, instead of sitting down, we had to come up with a solution to help put food on the table," Priscilla said.

She said like everyone else, things have been difficult for them. "We don't have any income and by the look of things salons will only reopen during level 1. In the meantime we are not receiving any form of relief.

"It was our plan to add a washing unit outside our salon for clients to be able to wash their hands even before they open our doors," said Priscilla.

She said with some of the businesses opening they thought the drums will come in very handy. "These drums are suitable for school premises, outside clinics, doctor's consultation rooms, offices, shops, taxi ranks, salons, business and residential areas.

"There is no reason for people to go to bathrooms. Instead, they can place the drums outside their premises and people will wash hands before going inside."

Priscilla said schools can have one drum outside each classroom. "The same thing can apply at taxi ranks and clinics," she said.

Priscilla said at the moment they were working in their garage but they hope to hire more people as the business expands. "We understand this is a stressful time for most people as companies are retrenching, with small businesses closing shop. We hope this idea will create jobs for a few people."

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