Sketched May 11, 2020

With no college students milling around due to the coronavirus shutdown, The Ave in the University District felt like a ghost town on a recent weekday afternoon.

But some activity at the University Avenue Barbershop — a fixture on The Ave since 1942 — hinted at things beginning to change. While a worker sanded and painted the window trim outside, owner Kirk Strong was inside, tidying and taking measurements to figure out how to reconfigure the space for a new era of social distancing. “We’ll probably have to go down from six to four barber chairs,” he told me outside the shop.

As long as they adhere to some strict guidelines, barbershops and nail salons will be allowed to reopen under Phase 2 of Gov. Inslee’s plan to fully restart the economy. That could happen as early as June 1, and Strong and his crew, which includes his daughter and his father, are eager to get back to work.

A haircut is one of few things you can’t buy on the internet, so I suspect The Ave will be a bit more lively when the lines of long-haired dudes (hopefully wearing face masks!) start forming by the sidewalk soon.