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Bruce Irving stood in line outside the Downtown Barber Shop in Charlottetown Friday with hair longer than he has sported in over 50 years.
He normally gets a cut once a month. However, his last trim was in mid-February.
Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, announced on March 18 that personal beauty care providers, including barbers, hair dressers and nail and tattoo salons, would close immediately following a discussion with the Hairdressers Association.
So, Irving, 68, of Charlottetown joined the thousands of other Islanders that have been watching their hair grow longer by the day for at least the past nine weeks.
He says he was “counting down the sleeps’’ when he learned recently that barber shops and hair salons would be allowed to reopen on May 22 across P.E.I. with the adoption of several safety protocols.
Irving joked that he would not let his wife come near him with a pair of scissors fearing the outcome. He added he only had good things to say about his spouse’s longer-than-usual hair.
“Happy wife, happy life,’’ he quipped.
Here are some of the safety protocols for barbers/hair stylists, who as of Friday, May 22 were allowed to re-open for business:
- Space waiting room chairs and service areas two metres (six feet) apart.
- No handshakes. No hugs. No high-fives.
- Only one client allowed per service provider.
- Have a written cleaning and disinfection schedule in place. This is to include the surfaces being cleaned and disinfected, what product(s) to use, how often to use them and how to use them.
- Barbers/hair stylists wear non-medical mask and/or a shield.
- New pair of gloves used to cut hair of each client.
The Downtown Barber Shop was set to open at 8 a.m. Friday. However, when one barber arrived at 6:30 a.m. to get the shop ready for a very busy day of haircutting, roughly 10 customers were waiting outside on the sidewalk along Great George Street.
Cutting started 90 minutes earlier than planned.
The customers kept on coming. Each assigned a number, the crowd waited patiently in line.
Donning a mask provided by the barber shop, Stan MacPhee of Charlottetown was seated in the chair after a three-hour wait.
MacPhee, who usually gets his locks shortened every five weeks, last had his hair cut in mid-March. He cannot recall ever going this long between trims.
And he was not going to wait one day longer than reopening day.
“I was sick of looking at myself in the mirror,’’ he says.
“I don’t like long hair.’’
Fred Jenkins, 78, of Millview typically heads to the barber every four or five weeks. His trip to the Downtown Barber Shop Friday, though, marked his first hair cut in well over three months.
“Well, I’m glad to get it trimmed off,’’ he says.
Aniket Sehgal, 21, of Charlottetown has avoided the scissors longer than most.
He last had a hair cut in December. News of the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) led him to take early precautions, such as steering clear of the barber.
He did not try to cut his own hair or put his faith in the hands of a unqualified snipper.
“I don’t want any experiments on it,’’ he says.
Sehgal, who waited more than two hours to hop onto the barber shop chair Friday, has long tired of his long hair.
“I’m very keen to get my hair cut,’’ he said shortly before getting his wish.
Barber Coralee Schneider says some of her regular customers, not surprisingly, were making their way into the shop with “extremely long hair".
She lauded the customers for showing patience and understanding as they waited for their turn for a long-awaited trimming.
“Oh, they are just feeling a lot lighter,’’ she says.