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

Hamels Fabrics & Quilting is set to open on April 6 in Sooke. The shop is located at 2044 Otter Point Road. (Mark Martins/Pixabay)
Fabric and quilting store opens doors in Sooke

Shop is filled with all kinds of ‘bright, bold and cheery’ designs

Kit Thornton, chief aquarist at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, plays with Wanda, the female Giant Pacific octopus currently residing at the centre. The centre will release Wanda back into the wild next month. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
An octopus named Wanda will soon say goodbye to Sidney

Wanda’s personality is ‘complete opposite’ of previous octopus named after Dr. Bonnie Henry

Saanich Fire Department on the scene after a car crashed into the Walmart in Uptown. (Photo courtesy Dan Wood)
PHOTOS: Saanich firefighters free trapped workers at Uptown Walmart

Incident reported as explosion after driver rammed through wall

Tiny packets of carrots ready to be distributed in Victoria. (Submitted/Victoria Seed Share)
Free Victoria seed sharing collective bags work experience funding

Fully volunteer run Victoria Seed Share will get a boost from provincial grant

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man suspected of being involved in a stabbing. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to identify stabbing suspect who wielded rusty knife

Stabbing followed argument between two men at Port Place Shopping Centre April 1

The inside of the Campbell River Community Centre gymnasium has been marked off in order to facilitate the public flowing through the clinic as they receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell river Mirror
Leftover vaccines go into arms, not down the drain: Island Health

Immunization plan comes with built-in options for any unused vaccines at the end of the day

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning says the players who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 are recovering and the team still intends to play a 56-game season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks players ‘mostly on the other side’ of COVID outbreak: general manager

The athletes have had a “whole range” of COVID-19 symptoms, said team physician Dr. Jim Bovard, but no one has needed to be hospitalized

Police are investigating after a man was shot Thursday, April 8 while sitting in a car in Vancouver. (Black Press files)
Man shot in Vancouver while sitting in a parked car: police

The victim is currently in critical condition. Police say no arrests have been made.

Teachers from SD42 and other districts in the Lower Mainland flocked to Surrey on Tuesday in the hopes of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. (Sheelagh Brothers/Twitter)
Don’t line up for vaccines unless asked to come, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

Social media post shows teachers lining up outside of Surrey clinic for leftover doses

Organ donation form from BC Transplant. (BC Transplant)
POLL: Have you registered as an organ donor?

They number 1.5 million strong and growing. But their numbers still fall… Continue reading

Most Read