Scottish barber Anna Elliot who owns Doc’s Barbershops in Shanghai isn’t quite at ‘ground zero’ of the deadly coronavirus but there are already reported cases in the city. MB checked in to see how her busy barbershop is managing the challenges of a potential epidemic. Anna says “Everyone is wearing masks in public. Even our barbers and many of our customers keep them on during the cut. People are taking the usual precautions you would expect with a flu epidemic…hand washing, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze, avoiding public places like crowds and public transport. People seem to be taking it seriously. Usually my staff hate the smell of bleach or strong cleaning products and now they are cleaning everything like crazy!
As a people business barbers are constantly exposed to germs and airborne viruses but it’s rarely a case of life and death. The coronavirus is not currently declared an emergency by the World Health Organisation although their are already checks at ports of entry across the world. Anna isn’t seeing signs of panic however. “I think, as always, the media is making a much bigger deal of it especially since I can only read the foreign news. So it’s quite funny to see all the jokes going around online about it like you might have seen on my stories. Saying that, I have seen the pictures on Chinese media when they show the inside of the market where the virus started and it’s pretty horrific. It does make you think twice about where you get your food from. Scary stuff!”
Anna is rightly being cautious however. “Like any sickness, if you have a fever you are advised to stay home to avoid the possibility of infecting others. We just sent one of our barbers home this morning. Our second location is in the lobby of a hotel and my staff told me they are doing temperature checks at the front door! The biggest problem is preventing the spread, when all of China is on the move going home for Chinese New Year. It’s like Christmas time but with millions and millions of people….and a deadly virus! We will close the shop for one week for the Chinese New Year holiday and I think I will be spending a lot of time on the couch with some Netflix!”
Stay well Anna (and the team)! Keep rocking the masks.