FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Stage 5 of Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s Back on Track reopening plan began on Saturday and like many businesses, barber shops are now allowed to open at 100% capacity. A Fort Wayne barber who just recovered from COVID-19 has a serious message for the community as it moves into Stage 5.
Joe Martinez owns the Barbers United franchise with locations at 3950 West Jefferson Blvd. and 7605 Coldwater Rd. He’s happy that all his nearly 25 barbers will be back working at his shops.
“It’s wonderful,” he said. “It’s going to be great to have the 100% capacity back in the shop. That way all the barbers can come back to work now and we have more customers coming back. We have a lot of customers we haven’t seen since the whole COVID started.”
Martinez is keeping the same safety procedures: appointments only, Six-foot social distancing with plastic curtain barriers between barbers, a mask mandate for his employees, and his customers being required to wear them too unless they’re in a barber chair getting a cut.
While he’s done his best to keep his employees and customers safe, Martinez is taking the coronavirus more serious than ever because he just recovered from the virus. He got it in late August.
“I thought I was just going to go through it in a couple of days and let it run its course, but it kind of knocked me down for a little while there,” he said.
He was very sick for 10 days, admitted to a hospital for another day, and then self-quarantined for another two weeks.
“It was pretty painful,” he said. “It was kind of hard to breathe, a lot of body aches, stuff like that. I wouldn’t want that on my worst enemy. Until you get it, I guess you’ll actually find out how serious it is.”
Martinez isn’t sure how he caught the virus. He’s encouraging the people in the community to take COVID-19 extremely serious, even as it moves into Stage 5 of the Back on Track plan.
“It’s nothing nice,” he warned. “I encourage you all to stay hydrated and wear your mask.”
Barber shops and salons are allowed to operate at full capacity in Stage 5, along with restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. The statewide mask mandate will remain in place until October 17.