‘We won’t rush it’: Small businesses prioritize safety as they prepare for Phase 2
SPOKANE, Wash.– It’s a waiting game in Spokane County as the state considers whether the county can move to Phase 2 early. The next step would allow more businesses to reopen, including fitness studios and salons.
4 News Now interviewed some of the business owners looking ahead to the next steps.
People have been getting their sweat on virtually for months. When COVID-19 forced gyms and workout studios to temporarily close, Core4Collective owner Janelle Brennan knew she had to get creative.
While daily workouts on Zoom are beneficial, it can’t replace the real thing. That’s why Brennan was so excited to hear that classes may resume in a limited capacity soon.
“I have to say, I signed up for Governor Inslee’s emails and when I got the email at 5:36 the other night, I squealed a little bit,” Brennan said. “I was pretty excited about the possibility to come back to this place that I love so much and I know has made such a positive impact on so many people’s lives.”
But when she and her clients return to class, they will have to follow new rules.
The state mandates that indoor fitness and training activities must be limited to five or fewer people in class and one instructor. People will also notice social distancing in place, along with signage.
Brennan already has workout spots marked out with seven and a half feet between each area. She wanted to account for people moving slightly during the workout. Brennan also compiled a binder full of policy and procedures to inform staff and clients.
While she’s eager to open up her studio again, Brennan said she won’t hurry into it.
“We won’t rush it. We want to make sure we’re completely set up for it,” Brennan said.
Read Gov. Inslee’s memo about fitness and training during Phase 2 here.
RETAIL: FROM HERE
Shops inside Riverpark Square have been shuttered for more than two months. Being inside a mall has posed unique challenges for stores like From Here, which has only offered online gift card sales since the local pandemic closures began.
From Here offers items from more than 90 local makers, according to Terrain Operations Director Jackie Caro. She said mall leaders told her RiverPark Square should be open within days of Phase 2 beginning in Spokane County. Employees have been busy placing social distancing signs and sanitizing the building. Once it reopens, From Here hopes to do the same, too.
Caro and other staff members have revamped the shop for a safe experience in-person and online.
“You never know what it’s going to be like on that day one when it all opens up, but we know there’s going to be a big portion of people who still don’t fee comfortable coming out and so obviously we’re wanting to offer another way to buy,” Caro said.
State guidelines require limited in-store operations. Guest occupancy will be regulated and shops are expected to find ways to limit crowding. See a full list of Phase 2 guidelines for shops here.
From Here is expected to launch an online shop soon.
SALON: HOUSE OF POP
Personal services can reopen with restrictions during Phase 2. That includes people working as hairstylists, barbers, estheticians, and tattoo artists. But, returning to work will mean following a long list of rules.
House of Pop co-owner Douglas McCoy is already preparing for what comes next. He said safety is at the heart of each decision.
“My staff, my team, my clients, safety is number one,” McCoy said.
McCoy explained that the salon will not reopen until they meet every new standard. He’s already started to make changes, including removing the seats inside the waiting room. But, some adjustments will have to wait until he gets the gear he ordered. Many shipments have been delayed or processed more slowly than normal, according to McCoy.
“We’ve got barriers coming for the shampoo bowls. We’ve got barriers coming for the front desk,” McCoy said.
Stylists and clients are required by the state to wear face coverings at the salon during Phase 2. Employees will also be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before each shift. The state also laid out new rules that limit the salon to 50 percent or lower occupancy.
Read more about the new requirements for personal services and clients here.
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