Expect to see less furniture, and people, at your local wine tasting room. Look for restaurants to have somewhat limited menus, and possibly hours — at least initially — as they begin to expand offerings.
And expect your local barber to see you by appointment only, and forget about having magazines to page through as you wait for your turn in the chair.
And masks and gloves. Be prepared to see everyone who serves you, be it at a store, restaurant, retail shop or elsewhere to be wearing masks and gloves for the foreseeable future.
Welcome to Phase I in the reopening of the Douglas County economy, which has been shut down for weeks in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Oregon counties that meet certain criteria, including declining COVID-19 cases, minimum testing requirements, a contact tracing system in place and provisions to quarantine patients if necessary, could allow businesses to reopen as early as Friday under a plan unveiled last week by Gov. Kate Brown.
Counties had until last Friday to formally apply to the state to allow businesses to reopen. Douglas County was one of the 32 of Oregon’s 36 counties that applied. Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas and Lincoln counties did not submit applications.
That means that fitness gyms, restaurants, bars, hair salons and barbershops, as well as furniture stores, art galleries, jewelry shops and boutiques could come back to life this weekend. Childcare, summer school, camps and youth programs could also open.
And that chance to resume a semblance of normalcy can’t come too soon for area businesses that have been closed for nearly two months now.
Small changesAt the Paul O’Brien Winery at 609 SE Pine St., Roseburg, co-owner Scott Kelley said they are eager to open since the winery took a double hit with the closure of its tasting room and the loss of sales to restaurants across the country, which were closed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The winery is hoping to open the tasting room Friday, once it gets the green light from the governor. In anticipation of that, Paul O’Brien is moving furniture around a bit in the 2,000 square-foot tasting room to make sure to abide by social distancing requirements.
Other changes include encouraging groups of five or more to schedule appointments, limiting the size of groups coming in to 10 people and a total of 40 people, “extreme cleaning” between groups, using touchless payment methods, and having staff wear masks.
“I’m happy with the guidelines, I think they’re fair and reasonable. It’s pretty basic stuff when you think about it,” Kelley said. “But I’ll be honest: It’s going to be hard to wear masks.”
A few blocks away at Alexander’s Greek Cuisine, 643 SE Jackson St., owners Mike and Susan Emmanuil said they plan to reopen the dining room on Monday “if everything goes well.”
The restaurant will have half the seating capacity it would normally have due to spacing requirements.
“We will have a lot less seating and the restaurant may look a bit empty without the full amount of tables,” Susan Emmanuil said.
Employees will have their temperatures taken before shifts and wear masks and gloves during them. There will be constant cleanings, a plexiglass screen at the register and reservations are strongly encouraged to make sure there is enough seating available.
“We hope that it’s all just precautionary,” Emmanuil said. “We want our customers and employees to feel safe in this transition back to normal.”
Alexander’s will be offering a somewhat limited menu for the time being to control inventory and costs, but there will also be lower prices than before “as an appreciation for your support during this time of this shutdown,” the Emmanuils said on Facebook.
Hours of operation will also be curtailed to 11 a.m to 6 p.m. weekdays, with the restaurant closed on weekends for now.
“We feel so blessed and fortunate to live in such a caring and supportive community,” the Emmanuils said on a Facebook post. “The outpouring of love and encouragement has been overwhelming to our family and our employees.”
Safety firstJust down the street at Frasier’s Barbershop, owner Joshua Frasier said he hopes to reopen Friday.
“I am waiting on the state to give the county the green light to proceed with Phase I,” Frasier said.
Once he does open customers used to the informal, first-come-first-served rules from before could be in for a bit of a shock. Frasier said he plans to implement several new rules, including:
- Both he and customers will be required to wear masks. “I’ll provide one if you don’t have one,” he said. Masks can be removed for beard trims.
- For the foreseeable future, walk-ins are strictly forbidden; only customers with appointments will be served. Appointments will be in half-hour slots, which will allow for the haircut and proper cleaning between customers.
- Customers will be asked to wait in their vehicles until Frasier calls or waves them in.
- Frasier will call those with appointments ahead of time and ask about COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone with symptoms will be asked to reschedule their appointment.
- Only customers will be allowed in the barbershop.
“Crack the windows and leave loved ones in the car if they are old enough to be left alone,” Frasier posted on his Facebook page. “To emphasize: the only people allowed in the barbershop at ANY given time is myself and the customer with an appointment. You may bring your children if you have absolutely nowhere else to put them.”
And this: “There will be no candy or coffee. No magazines. No books. No toys. No joy. Prices will remain the same for now. You have all taken very good care of me and I see no reason to change… I hope you are all well! I can’t wait to see you all again!”