‘It’s been crazy’: Busy times for Kelowna, B.C., barbershops as they reopen doors

Looking to get a haircut? Arrive early or check in online — or be prepared to wait.

On Thursday morning, an online app for one hair-cutting company showed wait times in excess of two hours in Kelowna, B.C.

Another salon and barbershop in Kelowna’s downtown core said it was already booking appointments for next week, while a barbershop with two locations said if you don’t arrive early, odds are high you won’t get in that day.

Casey Donovan is the owner of Plan B Headquarters in downtown Kelowna. His shop reopened on Thursday after being closed for the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s been crazy.”

Asked if he expected the rush, Donovan said yes, but not this much.

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“With the amount of people who have been calling around, and checking and dropping in on social media, emails and everything, I think we’re busier than what I expected,” he said.

Donovan said it feels great to be back in business and that his shop is taking all the precautions it can to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

He said Plan B normally has 20 stations, but that they’re only operating 10 chairs to ensure physical distancing. There’s also directional tape on the floor, staff are masked and stations are constantly being sanitized.

He added “people need to know that all of the precautions that we can take are being taken.”

Elsewhere in Kelowna, Laura Baumback, regional manager of Tommy Gun’s, says it’s been hectic since the province allowed salons and barbershops to reopen on Tuesday.

“Both of our shops in Kelowna usually get fully booked up for the day within the first two hours of opening,” said Baumback, noting Tommy Gun’s is a walk-in shop but that it does offer online check-in.

“We were expecting it to be really, really busy, so it’s about what we expected,” said Baumback.

“We were expecting it to be crazy, and it’s crazy.”

Baumback said those who decide to visit Tommy Gun’s must bring their own masks and that staff members are masked as well.

She added that a host will greet customers to ensure they sanitize their hands before entering, and that all stations are thoroughly cleaned before each visit.

“There is definitely extra sanitization,” said Baumback. “After every guest, we change our capes, we change all of our tools and we sanitize the whole station, chair, everything that we would touch or the guest would touch during the service.”

Asked what type of hairstyles he’s seen — aka the COVID-19 home haircuts — Donovan said “we’ve seen some pretty outrageous jobs and some not too bad. I’m impressed. I might try to hire them.”

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