CORVALLIS, Ore. -- When Governor Kate Brown gave the approval for Benton County to begin phase one of reopening on Friday, local businesses were left with a decision to make: to open doors back up to the public or to wait things out.
On Saturday, streets in Corvallis were flooded with customers eager to support their favorite spots.
With the green light came a variety of opinions from community members.
“I think people are doing alright,” James Lettrell, Corvallis resident, said. “I think they are trying to get it going a little fast.”
Others are looking forward to what is to come.
“It’s exciting,” Mat Gee, Florence resident, said. “It’s super exciting that people are getting back to work and able to get out. It’s just nice to see people again.”
Local businesses have taken a variety measures to ensure the safety of staff and customers, resulting in longer lines and wait times.
“It’s nice having the opportunity to let people come in at their own comfort,” Tom Jenson, clerk at Happy Trails Records, said.
For Happy Trails Records, facial coverings are necessary to step inside the doors and there are clear signs and marking to allow shoppers to keep the distance.
While many were quick to open the doors, there are business owners who are taking things more slowly.
“A big thing for us is just general safety, and so we are playing things really safe,” Payton Smyer, co-owner of Suite Zero, said.
Suite Zero is a vintage clothing store in downtown Corvallis and has decided to not open their storefront back up just yet. Shoppers do have the option to purchase items in other ways, and an online store was just launched.
“We’re still able to service our local community through in-store pickup,” Smyer said. “We’re a small business so trying to stay healthy ourselves just for the business’ sake is just really important to us.”
Phase 1 also grants restaurants and bars the opportunity to open back up for dine-in services. Barber shops and hair salons can also open their doors. The limit of gatherings up to 25 people still remains.
“Corvallis is very aware of social distancing,” Jeff Goldner, Corvallis resident, said. “Corvallis, I think, is the face mask capital of the world. Also, hand sanitizer and gloves--you see it everywhere.”