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, 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.

For more news from the Island and beyond delivered directly to your email inbox, click here.


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)

Just Posted

A sentencing hearing began for Joel Conway who was convicted of break and enter and sexual assault last year. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Saanich man sentenced to three years in prison for breaking into woman’s home and sexually assaulting her

Crown is asking Joel Conway be sentenced to four years for both charges, to be served concurrent

Victoria fire crews quickly extinguished a multi-unit apartment building fire near Beacon Hill Park on Oct. 30. (Courtesy of Chief Paul Bruce)
Victoria fire crews extinguish multi-unit fire near Beacon Hill Park

Two people have suffered non-life-threatening injuries

Elianna Tory, 5, was surprised with a brand new toy Jeep by 642 Jeeps, a group of off-roading enthusiasts, after hers was stolen outside her home in early October. (Andrew Gaetz photo)
Sooke girl left speechless after Island off-road community replaces stolen toy Jeep

Sooke area Facebook group hunted far and wide before locating new toy in Vernon, BC

Cat owners are being warned to keep their pets indoors after a threatening note was found posted in a North Saanich neighbourhood. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
ROAM warns Peninsula cat owners after threatening note posted in neighbourhood

Note writer doesn’t want cats pooping in their yard, threatens to trap them

A study by SlotsOnlineCanada notes there is at least 88 hours of top-rated horror movies for Canadians to consume this Halloween. (Unsplash)
Spooks and Chill study reveals Canada’s favourite horror flicks

88 hours of top-rated horror movies can fill COVID-19 Halloween

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Julia Strobach. File Photo
Nearing seventh anniversary, Comox Valley RCMP continue search for Julia Strobach

“We know that someone has information that will help us locate her.”

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

John Albert Buchanan, accused in the September 2017 murder of Richard Sitar in Nanaimo, is currently standing trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Man accused in Nanaimo beating death told police he didn’t hurt victim

Arresting officer takes the stand in John Albert Buchanan’s second-degree murder trial

Most Read