In your apartment room at East Village, Nova York, Alison Mazur she relaxed in the chair and sighed contentedly as a beautician covered her nails with gray polish. It was his first professional manicure and pedicure session in four months, since the closing of beauty salons across the country imposed by coronavirus.
During the pandemic, Alison had to pause her personal care routine, which included regular visits to the manicure. But between the anxiety caused by the virus and the stress of running her photography company, she realized that she needed some time for herself. “I thought, what the hell, I live in New York – there must be some company capable of accommodating personal care needs right now,” she said.
A search in the Google took her to MySpa2Go, headquartered in the city, offering home manicure, waxing, makeup, false eyelashes, hairdressing and massage services at higher prices. A luxury manicure session costs $ 125, well above the usual price of a New York beauty salon. “Taking into account the time it has been since the last time, it was a special occasion,” said Alison.
Before the pandemic, going to the manicure, buying a movie ticket, going to a gym class or going out shopping were relatively affordable pastimes for the upper middle class. But more and more, the virus makes these activities unique – available at a high price for those wealthy enough to enjoy them in a private setting.
Missing going to the movies? For about $ 350, you can rent an entire auditorium at Moviehouse & Eatery, a chain of luxury cinemas in the Texas. Thinking of resuming the exercise routine? Gymguyz, a personal trainers company based in Plainview, Nova York, offers individual training sessions with social distance in customers’ homes or backyards for $ 70 to $ 100.
Such offers are an extension of a trend that predates the virus, an invisible velvet cord separating the wealthiest Americans from everyone else on airplanes, cruises and even the healthcare system. Richer customers are allowed to avoid queues, crowds, inconveniences and wasted time.
But in the world of covid-19, crowds and queues are not just inconveniences – they are threats to health and, in some cases, survival. Thus, the pandemic gave wealthier customers an even greater incentive to take advantage of luxury services that physically separate them from the masses. “The idea that we are all together in this pandemic has a reason,” said New York University sociologist Eric Klinenberg. “But this supposed union soon weakens when it becomes clear that millions feel trapped, while few have their yacht or private jet as an escape route.”
Demand for MySpa2Go services has quadrupled since the start of the pandemic, and the company has a waiting list of 10 to 15 people a day, said the owner, Lori Traub. “People call and beg to be answered, saying they pay anything,” she said. “They literally announce: ‘You can charge double, you can charge triple … I pay anything to be answered’.”
Lori said the company did not raise prices much during the pandemic. MySpa2Go requires all employees to wear protective equipment, including masks and gloves, when providing services, using disposable tools as much as possible.
Helicopter and private jet company Blade saw an increase in demand for its flights, such as New York to the Hamptons for US $ 795. A Elite Adventure Tours, based in The Angels, received more requests for yacht rentals for summer excursions with social distance, at a daily value of US $ 10,000.
THE Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, located on 810 hectares of Montanhas Allegheny, on Pennsylvania, is offering a retreat experience with social isolation. For up to $ 900 a night, guests receive a butler who plans their private leisure activities, including watching movies alone at the resort’s cinema or private use of tennis courts, museums and shops.
Businesses targeting high-end audiences are also offering one of the most requested products of the pandemic era: child care.
The agency Westside Nannies, of Beverly Hills, California, was overwhelmed with requests by staff with experience in summer camps to supervise children and plan individual activities, she said. Katie Provinziano, managing director of the agency. “Parents really want to give their children something that reminds them of normalcy and a little bit of the traditional summer experience in the midst of the confinement imposed by the pandemic,” she said.
Victoria O’Flahavan, from West Hollywood, California, hired a nanny through the agency to look after her 3 year old son while she looks after her newborn daughter. The nanny, who charges $ 28 an hour, organizes summer activities like planting tomatoes in the garden and setting up a lemonade stand. “I like the fact that he has an activity that occupies him, as it has been a long time since the last interaction with other children, something that breaks my heart,” said Victoria.
Westside Nannies said it saw a 300% increase in requests from parents who wish to hire “private educators” full-time, at the usual cost of $ 50 an hour.
Parents are also finding ways to keep their children interested in athletic ambitions. In Hopkins, Minnesota, a 43 Hoops Basketball Academy offers private training for $ 75 to $ 90 an hour. THE Also Sports, in Bethesda, Maryland, offers summer camp experiences with social distance for small groups of children, as long as one of the families involved offers their backyard to receive the fun. THE Elite Method, of Englewood, New Jersey, offers “individual coaches” and tutors for children who play in their own backyard for $ 250 per 90-minute session.
“These are people who can pay private educators $ 50 an hour to come and teach their children or hire a camp monitor to create activities for their children, that is, the upper class in society,” said Katie./TRANSLATION OF AUGUSTO CALIL