Alberta’s regional relaunch prompts some Calgarians to travel north for haircuts

Clayten Willington is a barber. He never dreamed he’d have to ask his customers for identification, but he’s now seriously considering it.

“We have seen customers just kind of grease their way in from Calgary,” said Willington, who owns Red Stag Barber in Red Deer, Alta.

On May 14, Alberta allowed several industries to reopen for business after mandated COVID-19-related closures. Hair salons, barbers and restaurants were all included, except in Calgary and Brooks. Those communities are still dealing with more active COVID-19 cases than the rest of the province.

Willington opened his doors on Day 1 and said five would-be customers came all the way from Calgary. That doesn’t sit well with him.

“I think it’s a little rude how desperate they are, that they’ll just get in their car, hop down and do whatever it takes to get a haircut,” he said.

“We feel really safe about our capacity to keep our staff safe. But when people start travelling outside their zone to come to a place like this, I feel it endangers our staff.”

Willington said he has sent home every one of the Calgarians seeking a cut. His staff have been told to follow his lead.

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Further north, there are similar concerns. Restaurants have been allowed to open in Edmonton but not in Calgary.

To celebrate their reopening, the owners of Spotlight Cabaret had planned a comedy show. They initially got the all-clear but at the last moment were told no.

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