Businesses weigh reopening with precautionary measures as states ease restrictions

Posted at 11:17 AM, Apr 28, 2020

Some states across the country are beginning to reopen parks and businesses after weeks of shelter-in-place orders.

States like Georgia are allowing salons and gyms to resume services by the end of the month.

"I actually support it,” said Justin Bachtell, owner of The Woodhouse Spa. “I support what Gov. Kemp was thinking in terms of being able to put the ability to operate our business back in our hands. I appreciate that. That does not mean that we have to open."

Bachtell says he was pleasantly surprised by the lifting of some restrictions in Georgia, but he doesn't plan to reopen until he feels comfortable. First, he says, the shelter-in-place order has to expire. Then, he needs to have enough personal protective equipment for his staff and guests.

"We have a pretty measured approach to it,” he explained. “Obviously, we will adapt as things change, and we’ll, number one, make sure everybody is safe and comfortable."

Mother's Day is the second biggest holiday of the year for Woodhouse Spa, but they're still not sure if they'll be open to guests by then. Still, once the business is back open for treatments, services won't look the same.

"Our employees will be wearing masks the entire time they’re in the spa,” he said. “We will also require gloves and face shields for certain treatments. We’ll have extremely stringent protocols for cleaning and sanitation of our rooms.”

The spa will also allow extra time between services for cleaning rooms and may even change operating hours to spread out guests. While some businesses are planning for a possible reopening in May, others still aren't ready to announce plans.

LA Fitness's website shows they're remaining closed, as well as a number of restaurants. Mike Patrick, owner of his restaurant Storico Fresco, is considering opening his restaurant on May 11.

"It’s really going to be about the cleanliness of how we operate,” Patrick said. “It’s also going to be controlling people coming in the door.”

Reopening isn't going to be easy for any business. Patrick says the number of changes and new measures businesses are going to have to make in order to keep everyone safe is going to cost them a lot of money.

"I don’t see this really flushing out until Christmas, to be honest,” he said. “I don’t just think we’re going to have a normal Segway into this. I think it’s going to be pretty difficult to get everybody back in and feel comfortable."

No matter when and what restrictions are lifted as time goes on, many business owners say they'll be taking things one day at a time with slow and steady being the best approach.