A Winnipeg barber’s plans to muster up extra cash have been cut off at the root.
Jeremy Regan, owner of Hunter & Gunn barbershop, recently posted on Twitter he’d be offering "yard calls," in which he’d travel to clients’ homes, set up a chair on the lawn and cut their hair.
A flurry of hopefuls rushed to book appointments, and Regan’s story was published in various media, including the Free Press.
On Thursday, the day after Regan posted the first tweet, he received a call from Manitoba public health, telling him his plans to cut hair were illegal under COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Regan, whose lawyer had previously coached him to remain silent, said he only responded he did not understand.
Appointments weren’t scheduled to begin until Saturday, when restrictions on outdoor gatherings are slated to loosen. Starting at 12:01 a.m. that day, up to five people from two separate households will be allowed to gather outdoors at private residences.
For everyone reaching out for haircuts. I will be doing house calls or better yet yard calls. All you provide is the chair and I’ll bring my tools. Unfortunately with the price of gas cuts will be more expensive than usual at $40 a haircut. Please DM me— Hunter & Gunn (@HunterAndGunn) June 9, 2021
After the call, the barber said he spoke to his lawyer, who "scoured" the documents and "can’t find anything where this would be illegal."
However, according to a spokesperson for the province: "Personal services such as haircuts are not currently allowed under the public health orders due to the proximity required for the service. Outdoor gathering sizes will be relaxed June 12, however, that does not signal a return to normal activity for Manitobans. Public health orders remain in place to help reduce COVID-19 cases and the strain on the health-care system."
"I’m not that upset by what they said," Regan said Thursday, before backtracking: "I am upset by it. I would like to make money. But this is going to cause a bigger stir than I think I even realized it was going to cause."
As a result, the barber said he will comply and cancel all scheduled appointments.
So unfortunately I got quite a threatening call from public health and I can no longer pursue my dream of paying my mortgage. I will still take up all the offers to come have a beer with all my great clients the next couple of weeks though Lord knows I need it. My apologies to— Hunter & Gunn (@HunterAndGunn) June 10, 2021
"Everyone’s super, super disappointed, and they’re finding eight million ways to try to get me to still come to their house," he said.
Regardless of the disappointing outcome, the public response has been encouraging, he said. "Everything has been super positive."
Regan had said he’d put out the call this week because he was "plainly out of money." He worried he wouldn’t be able to make his next mortgage payment. To get by, Regan said, he’ll now need to accrue debt.
"I guess I’m going to into lines of credit that I don’t want to touch," he said, "which I’ve already touched through this."
He’ll also keep his fingers crossed the next set of public health restrictions allows his Winnipeg shop to reopen.