Calgary Cares: Local barbershops show they’re a cut above during COVID-19 pandemic

Calgary Cares: Barbershops offer front-line workers free haircuts
WATCH: A couple of Calgary barbershop owners are showing essential workers just how much they appreciate their services by offering them free haircuts. Deb Matejicka reports.

Ahmed Nasser Eldeen Borhot’s barbershop had only been open two weeks when the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to shut his doors.

“I was like, what did I do?” said Borhot, who owns Brentwood Barbershop in northwest Calgary.

Despite the let-down of closing, Borhat said he understood quickly the seriousness of the pandemic and the importance of self-isolating.

“If they gave me the option [of staying open] during the coronavirus, I’d say no,” Borhot said. “Especially when it first came out — everybody was getting so sick, there [were] so [many] cases, it was everywhere.”
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His appreciation for those who continued to work and provide essential services grew quickly and profoundly.

“Seeing the nurses, doctors, you know, even the Walmart employees, Sobey’s, Superstore, all that stuff, it’s good for them that they’re doing that, they’re risking their lives for us, right?” said Borhot.

With his barbershop open again, Borhot wants to show those essential workers just how grateful he is for all they’ve done.

“I want to give all first responders free hair cuts, I want to give all essential workers free hair cuts,” Borhot said.

Until July 15, he says any essential worker who calls or comes into his shop can book a cut for themselves or for a family member free of charge. Borhot said he’d like to see any form of employment identification to verify the client’s status as an essential worker but that he’ll also just “take their word for it.”

Across the city in the southwest community of Shawnessy, Denim & Smith Barbershop owners Ibrahim Fares and Mohammed Aneez shared the same thoughts.

On Tuesday, they closed their doors to regular business but kept them open for health care workers like Haidee Borja who brought her son and husband in for free hair cuts.

“I’m so touched,” said Borja of the shop’s offer. “I was like, wow, this is amazing and I actually felt emotional when I saw them,” she said.

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“I’m very actually proud [that] they come,” said Fares. “We like to support them like they support us during this pandemic.”

“It’ll show them we appreciate what they’re doing, this is our way of saying thank you,” said Borhot.