Okanagan hairdresser adapts as COVID-19 puts him and a million others out of work - InfoNews

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Okanagan hairdresser adapts as COVID-19 puts him and a million others out of work

Rodger Murray, owner of Shine The Salon, is now doing farm work amid the COVID-19 pandemic to put food on the table.
April 09, 2020 - 2:30 PM

A Lake Country salon owner is trading his clippers for a paint brush and is thankful to have a job amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Rodger Murray owns Shine A Salon with his wife and has for the last nine years. This year, the couple decided to sell their business, but have had no luck amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“We worked until the 17th and most of our clients are nurses (who) get their cut and colour, and when they started cancelling and not rebooking, we kind of read between the lines,” he said, adding they were closed before March 21.

Financially, they’re doing their best to get by, he said. “We don’t have anything saved, so we have to eat.”

READ MORE: When foreign workers arrive, orchardists will have pandemic precautions to consider

He’s been working at a Lake Country farm, painting and doing various other outdoor tasks to prepare the farm for the summer season.

“I’ve been painting, doing this and doing that, whatever needs to be done,” Murray said.

He’s never collected anything from the government, aside from tax returns, and isn’t planning to start now, he said.

"It’s just a matter of pride. I would much rather be productive in a day than sit around and do nothing,” he said.

He misses the social aspect of his job, having been a hairdresser for 30 years, but he’s enjoying the change of pace.

“It’s nice to have something different and it is tough work, and the pay sucks but I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to feed me and my family,” he said. “I’m forever grateful.”

READ MORE: Canada lost more than a million jobs in March, but April may be even worse

“I’ve been wanting to… do less (hairdressing) and now I do none,” he chuckled.

The Canadian economy lost 1 million jobs last month, with unemployment rates reaching a staggering 7.8 per cent, according to recent reports from Statistics Canada. Roughly 3.1 million Canadians either lost their jobs or had their hours slashed in March due to COVID-19.

READ MORE: Canada lost more than a million jobs in March, but April may be even worse

When the pandemic is over and life returns to normal, he will return to hairdressing but doesn’t know if he’ll give up the farm.

“I do enjoy what I’m doing very much,” he said.

READ MORE: Okanagan dairy farmer forced to dump milk after COVID-19 induced drop in demand

“You have to adapt and that’s the bottom line… and for what the government is going to give me, I may as well be here… I’m going to keep going until he doesn’t need me anymore or something changes. I plan to put the whole season in.”

- With files from The Canadian Press

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