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

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

The Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre will once again be transformed into temporary sheltering for 45 individuals starting in March. (Courtesy of the B.C. Government)
Temporary shelter to resume at Victoria Save-On-Foods arena in March

BC Housing signed lease with GSL Group from Feb. 1 to May 30

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan (left) and Kairry Nguyen on Jan. 27, 2020 after Tenessa Nikirk was found guilty for striking Bui in a Saanich crosswalk. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Driver convicted of dangerous driving after hitting Leila Bui out on bail

Tennesa Nikirk was convicted for striking then 11-year-old Leila Bui with her car

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed as Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Victoria police are seeking a young woman suspected of spitting on a bus driver in October 2020. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
VIDEO: Young woman sought after ‘spitting assault’ on Victoria bus driver

Suspect became irate after bus came to a sudden stop

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

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. 26

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

(B.C. government photo)
POLL: Would you like to see restrictions on travel to B.C. from other provinces?

With a host of more virulent strains of COVID-19 appearing across the… Continue reading

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Most Read