In photos: Penticton barbershops, gyms ease back into normality

Jesse Malott is one of many relieved to get a haircut after nearly two months of barbershops being closed due to COVID-19. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
Peter Beauchamp cuts the hair of Jesse Malott at Okanoggin Barbers Ltd. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
Jesse Malott is one of many relieved to get a haircut after nearly two months of barbershops being closed due to COVID-19. Okanoggin Barbers Ltd. is booking hair appointments into the middle of June. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
Barbershops in Penticton are starting to ease back into normality, one, Okanoggin Barbers Ltd., is booking hair appointments into the middle of June. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
Alan Woodhouse (left) and Rob Gray (right) pictured at City Centre Fitness, which reopened Tuesday May 19. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
Some exercise equipment has been closed at City Centre Fitness, to promote social distancing. The gym reopened Tuesday May 19. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
Some exercise equipment has been closed at City Centre Fitness, to promote social distancing. The gym reopened Tuesday May 19. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
Strict health guidelines have been implemented at gyms in Penticton. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
Strict health guidelines have been implemented at gyms in Penticton. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)
Strict health guidelines have been implemented at gyms in Penticton, including regular sanitation of equipment. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Local fitness centres and barbershops are starting to ease back into normality, much to the relief of patrons.

Long-haired barbershop patrons have been furiously calling in to local shops requesting a trim. For this reason, many barbershops in Penticton are booked through until mid-June.

Gym members at some Penticton fitness centres are also now able to continue working out, albeit with strict health guidelines implemented, including the closure of many machines to promote social distancing

READ MORE: Some Penticton gyms and fitness centres reopen, others following soon

READ MORE: ‘Germ-killing robots’ to fight COVID-19 at this B.C. hospital

Okanoggin Barbers Ltd. is one of several barbershops that reopened on Tuesday, May 19, and is booked through until mid-June.

The added stress of learning to work with masks and gloves on, and thinking of everyone’s safety, was compounded by the busyness of opening day, explained owner Peter Beauchamp. That being said, the first day back was positive.

“The first day was extremely welcoming, people were happy, and the comments about feeling brushed and clean were great,” he said.

Their new safety procedures start at the door. By appointment only, patrons are asked health questions, asked to sanitize their hands and put their glasses in a Ziplock bag. Equipment and chairs are cleaned in between each client, and then let sit for ten minutes. Towels and capes go straight into the laundry.

“It’s a process, we’re getting into a routine,” said Beauchamp, adding that some of the hairdos they have cut have been memorable.

“We’ve seen some pretty wicked wife haircuts,” he said. “There’s been some good stories, we’ll be publishing some on social media for sure.”

The relief of reopening is undoubtedly felt by many business owners.

“After two months of no income it’s nice to see some cash flow,” he said.

“Everybody’s just happy, it’s time to get back to living. If everybody takes the precautions and does what we all believe we’re supposed to be doing, then it all works.”

The Last Barber Shop, which will reopen on Friday at 9 a.m., is booked through the next few weeks.

Owner Joe McLeod said it feels good to get back to work, adding that the new precautions will take some getting used to. They are currently running at two thirds capacity to leave room for social distancing. Their phone, he said, has been ringing off the hook.

“We’ve just got to get through it right, things are going to be different for a little while and it’s going to nifty,” he said. “But I’m pretty excited about it man, pretty excited to get back to work.”

Skaha Barbers will officially reopen to the public on Thursday, May 21.

Owner Milan Anic said just this morning they received upwards of 300 calls.

“Today since 9 a.m. it was every two seconds,” he said. “Just ringing off the hook… it was insane.”

He, like others, is also relieved to go back to work.

“Officially I am back in my heaven,” he said. “This my heaven. I was kind of a little bit down when I had to stay at home, but it is what it is. Now it’s way happier, way better.”

Anic said they plan to post the best quarantine hairdos on their social media feed as well.

The Mug and Brush barbershops, which reopened Wednesday morning, has also received many calls.

Owner Melissa Van Troyen, who is working by herself at the shop for the time being, said patrons are being very good about following the new implemented guidelines.

With just herself in the shop, she said following health and safety guidelines has been a fairly simple process.

With roughly 20 missed calls this morning, Van Troyen is excited to get back to work, admitting she didn’t know how the public would react to shops reopening.

She admitted she was unsure if people would come, but has been pleasantly surprised by the number of calls.

“It’s really nice, and I do feel really good about it,” she said.

The Legion Barber Shop, which reopened Tuesday, is also busy.

Some barbershops were unreachable. Barbershops with updated information can reach the author at the email below.

READ MORE: Wearing non-medical masks now recommended in public: Canada’s top doctor

READ MORE: Penticton Dragon Boat Festival remains hopeful for 2020 event

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