Doc The Barber (Jennifer Morrell) will have the scissors and her mask at the ready whenever she’ll be able to open again. (Photo by Don Bodger)

No cutting corners as Doc and other barbers look ahead to re-opening

COVID-19 shaves into Vancouver Island personal services industry

It wasn’t quite the anniversary bash Doc The Barber had in mind.

May 1 would have marked Jennifer Morrell’s (Doc’s) 10th anniversary in Chemainus.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, she couldn’t cut hair or welcome anyone into her Willow Street shop, but Doc couldn’t let the milestone pass without doing something special at least.

So on the big day, Doc stood outside her barbershop and safely handed out cupcakes, baked by the Owl’s Nest Bistro, to mark the occasion and answer many questions about the unknowns of her business and when the doors might be open again. It seems the answer is coming soon.

“As of May 19, they might be announcing the Phase 2 dates, after the long weekend,” explained Doc.

RELATED: Business return up to managers, customers, Dr. Henry says

Phase 2 of the Pandemic Response Plan will mark a big shift in the way many businesses like Doc’s operate under what Dr. Bonnie Henry has coined as the ‘New Normal’.

For Doc the Barber, it will mean a fundamental shift in the way business is conducted. Barbershops traditionally operate on a walk-in only basis, with men of all ages hanging out, talking sports, politics and local business.

But there won’t be any hanging out for the foreseeable future. New B.C. Centre for Disease Control and WorkSafeBC regulations are prohibiting walk-in traffic and banning waiting areas, forcing businesses to change and adapt.

After 10 years in business, Doc will be changing her entire system.

“We will be taking appointments by phone, and restricting the number of haircuts in a day by spacing them out to restrict the number of people in the shop at once,” she explained.

With the no waiting policy in place, parents will be asked to wait outside of the shop whenever possible.

Under the new guidelines, both barber and client will be required to wear a mask during haircuts. Clients are encouraged to bring their own masks if they have them.

“We have stocked up on correct sanitation and disinfectant products, as well as the PPEs we will need to do our jobs, keeping ourselves and the public as safe as possible,” Doc added.

She prides herself on operating at a high level of safety and sanitation and has new increased protocols for her Phase 2 return. Barbershop services fall into a combination of phases, with haircutting part of Phase 2, but straight razor shaves and beard trims are in the spa category and not resuming until Phase 3 guidelines allow.

The BCCDC’s ordered closure on all personal services business is currently in effect until May 30, but the order is subject to revision, cancellation or extension. There’s been speculation in the industry about the move to the May 19 date.

RELATED:Sidney recommends thumbs-up for liquor-serving barber shop

Doc vows to be ready to open once the order is lifted, but stresses that anyone opening outside of the order could be subject to a $25,000 fine and loss of license.

“I like my shop and my clients too much to risk anyone’s safety and my career,” she emphasizes.

Doc and James McKay (the Dragon Alley Barber) encourage anyone with questions to check the Barbershops Facebook Page, www.facebook.com/DocTheBarber or to call 250-324-0362. The Facebook page and website are updated with the latest news on reopening.

The Barbershop is also taking a waiting list on the shop’s answering machine for appointments with Doc and McKay.

“Once we get an opening date I will be calling everyone to set up appointments,” said Doc.

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What’s Up Doc? Doc The Barber’s shop has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, awaiting reopening. See Page 9.

Closure has been a sign of the times due to COVID-19 for Doc the Barber and other personal services businesses. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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