Local businesses beginning to open up with extra precautions

| May 14, 2020

Trish Wilson and Zak Wilson are prepared with masks and other safety precautions to welcome back customers to Wilson Carpet & Furniture. (Josie Sellers)

It has been a long two months for many small, local businesses as Gov. Mike DeWine ordered all nonessential businesses to close mid-March due to the pandemic. Excitement and joy were felt last week when it was announced many of these businesses could begin the process of opening up — with extra precautions in place.

Many people have been anxiously waiting for the reopening of hair salons. March 19 was the last day Statements by Shannon was open. Shannon Lawrence, the salon’s owner, planned to reopen on May 15.
“We are following all of the guidelines put in place for the COVID-19 back-to-work restrictions as well as the Ohio State Board of Cosmetology and Barber’s sanitation guidelines,” Lawrence said.

Pampered Pooch, owned by Missy Mills, closed its doors on March 20, but Mills was able to reopen on May 4. (Submitted)

Lawrence said all of their clients will be asked to check in when they arrive for their appointments and that they may need to wait in their vehicles until their stylist is ready for them.

“We are sanitizing everything between each guest,” Lawrence said. “We have a purification station when they walk in the door with hand sanitizer, masks and gloves, if they would like.”
All employees will wear masks, and they have purchased double-sided tape to keep their guest’s mask in place while their hair is done.
“We reviewed the stipulations with guests when we called to make their appointments, and we also have a list of questions to be answered at the front door,” Lawrence said. “All of the stylists took a Barbicide certification course on disinfection and sanitation while we were closed. We have also asked that our guests do not bring anyone with them, except for guardians of minor children who are receiving services.”
For families with four-legged members, dog grooming services were missed almost as much as their own hair stylist. Pampered Pooch, owned by Missy Mills, closed its doors on March 20. Mills was able to reopen on May 4.
“My heart has been worried about so many people, but I am so glad I was blessed to survive and reopen during a pandemic,” Mills said. “I started my business during a recession, and so many have supported me through the years. I am so happy to be back to work. These dogs are the absolute best. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love.”
Mills said the reception area is roped off so people can only go so far into the business and that only one customer is allowed in the shop at a time. Customers must arrive at their appointment time so Mills can control traffic flow. She has implemented quick drop-off and pickup with dogs on a canine hitch so it allows for social distancing.
“I wear a mask, and customers must as well,” Mills said. “The doors and reception area are sanitized each time customers come and go. Only people who are dropping off or picking up dogs are allowed in the shop. Everyone else needs to call. My customers have been very patient, understanding and supportive.”
Kendra Parsons from The Rusty Olde Crow said they decided to close their business on March 14. “With the schools closing, I had no sitter for my 9-year-old son, and with the uncertainty of what was going on, I didn’t want him having to sit in the shop,” she said.
The store has been doing curbside pickups for the last four weeks.
“It has been amazing. We are so thankful for the support our hometown and surrounding towns have given us. We will continue the curbside pickups until we open back up,” Parsons said.
Parsons said they hope to reopen Wednesday, June 3. “Due to the wholesale places being closed, we decided to wait until we are fully restocked with inventory,” she said. “Walmarts are not restocking supplies, so we are limited on what we can make right now. Hopefully those supplies will be restocked soon.”
Parsons said they have taken several steps to be sure everyone is safe in their store. She and her mom are the only staff, and they will wear masks while customers are in the store and strongly suggest customers do the same. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the store, and the staff will wash their hands after every customer.
The store will be sanitized several times a day, and they have placed tape on the floor for a one-way direction around the shop. Only five people will be allowed in the store at a time, and they are in the process of building a barrier to separate staff from customers at their check-out desk.
Wilson Carpet & Furniture has been closed to the public since March 23, but they have been open for deliveries. Co-owner Trish Wilson said, “We had trucks coming that had been on the road before the shutdown started. They were delivering items that we had already sold; we had to take delivery. If the items had gone back to the warehouse, who knows how long it would have taken to get them back?”
Wilson said their store is large enough that social distancing isn’t a problem. “We also have a supply of hand sanitizer from Wiley, and we disinfect areas several times a day,” she said.
Wilson said staff will wear masks, but their customers could decide whether they wanted to wear them or not.
“We have a large supply of recliners, lift chairs and bedding, but special orders may take a little longer than usual as the factories are just now getting started again and trying to catch up,” Wilson said.
The store will be open its regular business hours.

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