Mike Gravelle is returning to work at the West Shore Barber Shop in Langford. As a double lung transplant recipient, he’s used to the ‘new normal’ of pandemic health. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Mike Gravelle is returning to work at the West Shore Barber Shop in Langford. As a double lung transplant recipient, he’s used to the ‘new normal’ of pandemic health. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

After a double lung transplant, Langford barber understands importance of safety precautions

West Shore Barber Shop reopens with extra safety measures

Seventeen years before the world adjusted to ‘the new normal’ of pandemic health, Mike Gravelle was already taking precautions in his everyday life to not get sick.

Before every shift at the West Shore Barber Shop, he’d make sure to wash his hands so thoroughly they became dry and raw. Between customers, he’d do his best to avoid touching his face. Since 2003, he’s made every effort to stay healthy because he is immunocompromised.

“I don’t live in fear because I know I take care of myself,” said Gravelle, co-owner of the Langford barbershop. “If you ask my family, maybe that’s a different story.”

The 47-year-old was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was just 18 months old. In the ’70s, the average life expectancy for someone with CF was 30 years. By the time he received a double lung transplant at 30, he was rapidly closing in on his last breath.

RELATED: Double lung transplant gives West Shore man second chance

“When I got on the operating table I was down to 118 pounds and my lung function was at 18 per cent,” he said.

Although he must stick to a daily regimen of three prescriptions twice a day for the rest of his life, Gravelle said it’s a “small price to pay.”

Now, they’re back to their shaving and snipping duties, but with a revised set of pandemic guidelines.

Sean Le Gras (right) only cuts hair for customers that comply with WorkSafe BC guidelines and wear a face mask in the West Shore Barber Shop along Goldstream Avenue. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Only four customers are allowed in the shop at any given time. Anyone who walks through their doors will have to wash their hands before they sit down on the barber chair and wear a mask too. Nine chairs that once lined the walls for waiting customers have been reduced to two at six feet apart – the remainder are stacked up in the corner of the shop.

Notably, no beard trims or neck shaves are being given until further notice and their operating hours are also being reduced by a half-hour at the end of the day to give them time to blitz the shop with sanitizer.

ALSO READ: PHOTOS: Victoria businesses open as province enters phase two of COVID-19 response

On their first day of re-opening, Gravelle was met by eight customers waiting outside for a trim.

“I’m glad they opened ‘cause I couldn’t rock a mullet,” quipped Kenny Baker, a regular customer for the past 15 years. “It doesn’t matter whether I would have to lineup outside because these guys are the ones that cut my hair. I won’t let [just] anyone touch it.”

Going forward, Gravelle said he and Le Gras are considering an online booking service for appointments instead of strictly walk-ins. Although he misses watching Netflix with his wife and counting how many times a character touches their face, he’s glad to be back in the community again, seeing regulars and meeting new faces.

“Let’s just say I’ve seen a lot of people out there that need a haircut,” he added.

– with files from Rick Stiebel

RELATED: Why one Langford teacher is giving his kidney to a stranger


@iaaronguillen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com

CoronavirusLangford

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Customers who enter the West Shore Barber Shop along Goldstream Avenue have to wear a face mask at all times. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Customers who enter the West Shore Barber Shop along Goldstream Avenue have to wear a face mask at all times. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Just Posted

Forty-two residential properties in Oak Bay were assessed the speculation and vacancy tax in 2019 for a total of $693,000. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
74 Oak Bay property owners paid $693,000 in spec tax

42 properties were assessed with the SVT in 2019

Staff at Artemis Place Secondary were shocked to find that one of the student-built greenhouses on the campus was stolen overnight on Jan. 11. (Artemis Place Society/Facebook)
Saanich school hopes to catch greenhouse thief red-handed

Student-built greenhouses stolen from Artemis Place Secondary on Jan. 11

Rendering shows murals decorating the proposed tiny home community in the Caledonia/Vancouver street parking lot next to Royal Athletic Park. (Courtesy Aryze Developments)
Tiny homes project on Victoria parking lot gets boost from council

Shipping container neighbourhood stems from Aryze Development idea

Jail cell - Reporter file photo
Two of Greater Victoria’s most notorious teenaged killers have parole privileges extended

Derik Lord gets overnight privileges while Kelly Ellard’s are extended

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 12

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

50 km/hr speed limit sign.
POLL: What do you think the speed limit should be on residential streets without a centre line?

Traffic on side streets around Greater Victoria could soon be travelling at… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials says it will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

Jackie Hildering, whale researcher with the Marine Environment Research Society, and Nanaimo Area Land Trust will present the Return of Giants, a webinar about the humpback whales’ return from the brink of extinction and how boaters can help protect them. (Jackie Hildering/MERS photo taken under Marine Mammal License MML-42)
‘Return of the Giants:’ B.C. getting 2nd chance to coexist with humpback whales

‘Marine Detective’ partners with Nanaimo stewardship group on webinar

Seiners fill the waters between Comox and Nanoose Bay during roe herring fishery. file photo, Pacific Wild
Quota debate heats up on the eve of Vancouver Island herring fishery

Industry and conservationists weigh in how much catch should be allowed as DFO decision coming soon

Most Read