Businesses rush to meet requirements to reopen

Local businesses may be ready to reopen their doors as soon as next Friday, and various industries are navigating detailed guidelines to help make that happen.

Posted: May 8, 2020 6:46 PM

EUGENE, Ore.-- Local businesses may be ready to reopen their doors as soon as next Friday, and various industries are navigating detailed requirements to help make that happen. 

Counties can apply to begin phase one of reopening, and if the state approves, businesses can welcome in customers if industry-specific guidelines are met.

Urban Babes Hair Loft opened for business just weeks before the stay-at-home order was put in place. Co-owner Brittany Ramos said that without income, she and her business partner have dipped into their savings to keep their dream alive.

Among the requirements for "personal services" like salons to open up are screening questions for clients, only seeing guests who have scheduled appointments, and leaving six feet of distance between clients. Guests must also wait outside until their appointment times.

Workers must wear and provide masks. Clean smocks and aprons are also required. Ramos said she has already purchased disposable equipment in order to meet these requirements.

"We have no income coming in. No unemployment. No nothing. We've officially dipped into our savings and we are just trying to survive right now, but if we don't have these things they are requiring we can't open to make any income for our families. So we don't have an option," she said.

Retail businesses must also follow strict social distancing guidelines. Store capacities must be reduced, and employees are required to wear masks and santize high-traffic areas frequently.

Eugene Toy and Hobby co-owner Alan Agerter said that though adjusting to the new process will be taxing, he is eager to open his doors to customers.

"I don't think it's a question about if it's possible. It has to happen. We will reopen, we will practice social distancing and masks, and do whatever it takes to get the doors open again," he said. 

According Eugene Chamber of Commerce CEO Brittany Quick-Warner, some businesses are feeling anxious about how they will get the resources to meet the guidelines. Even those who got Paycheck Protection Program loans are required to spend the money primarily on payroll. Quick-Warner said the chamber is advocating to loosen this requirement if there is another round of funding in order to pay for needed supplies.

She reccommended business owners start reaching out to staff that were furloughed to see if they can return. If employees decline, Quick-Warner suggested keeping track, as this may impact their unemployment status.

She also said it is wise to make orders for products and supplies quickly, in case supply chain issues arise. Aquiring personal protective equipment may also be wise.

"Most of if not all of the different industries are going to require that their employees wear masks so businesses are going to have to figure out how to get that for their employees," she said.

According to Quick-Warner, the Eugene and Springfield chambers are collaborating on a reopening playbook for businesses which should be ready early next week.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

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