Businesses open after hiatus
Thu, 05/28/2020 - 5:38pm admin
—Theatre to show first family-friendly film (Indiana Jones) on Friday, May 29
Marcie Klomp ~ News Editor email@example.com
CRESCO - Governor Kim Reynolds has been telling Iowans at her daily press conferences that she was waiting to slowly turn the dial, i.e. allow businesses to slowly open up.
She kept her word.
On April 27, she allowed businesses to open on May 1 in 77 of Iowa’s 99 counties, including Howard, Winneshiek, Mitchell and Chickasaw, with safety orders being followed. They included restaurants, fitness centers, malls, libraries, race tracks and other retail establishments.
On May 13, she allowed salons, barbershops, massage and tattoo establishments to open on May 15.
There was a big sigh of relief heard around the state and Howard County as bushmen and bushwomen raced to their phones to call their hair stylists!
And then on May 20, more businesses and activities were allowed to open on May 22. Those included movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, museums and wedding reception venues. In addition pools could open for lap swims and lessons. On May 28, bars and other alcohol-related establishments could open to indoor or outdoor seating. Also in that proclamation was the opening of high school baseball and softball seasons.
Many of the local retails shops opened up right away, and some waited a few weeks. Some require face masks, others encourage them and still others welcome all customers.
• One of the most long-awaited openings is of movie theaters, and Cresco Theatre is opening on Friday, May 29, with a family-friendly movie. Manager Wendy Lickteig doesn’t know what the movie is going to be, but she is opening it up . . . with some changes.
1. The maximum number of moviegoers will be 75. There will be three empty seats between families or individuals, with an empty row between.
2. There will be concessions, but no self-serve (napkins, butter, straws and salt).
3. Staff will be wearing gloves and masks at all times.
4. Staff will be cleaning bathrooms during the movie, as well as sanitizing the theatre, entry and bathrooms after the movie.
5. The water fountain will not be available.
6. When a movie is found, it will be put on the marquee, Facebook and its website.
Since the country has been shut down, some movies have been released on DVDs, Amazon and Netflix.
But people are getting bored and going stir crazy. They want to get out and watch a movie on the big screen with a big bowl of popcorn to munch on!
Theaters were allowed to open on May 22, but Lickteig needed a week to prepare and order supplies and a movie!
One of the first things that had to be done was cleaning. “This is an old building, and two months of not being open . . . it needs to be cleaned. Then we have to show staff how to clean and social distance and to know how to help customers understand all the changes.”
• Leuthold’s Clothing Stores opened up right away. Owner Roy Gorter had been keeping his customers engaged by posting specials online and having curbside pickup.
After opening, he found people were happy to be out and about. “It’s nice to see people and be able to talk face-to-face with them.
His numbers are down a little because some customers are being more cautious and waiting to get out in public.
• There were all sorts of memes and other jokes on Facebook wondering how life would be after the salons and barbershops opened back up. The answers came after the first day of cuts on May 15.
During the closure, T.J. and Kris Slifka of Kris’s Family Hair Care deep-cleaned and painted the shop and polished the floors.
Kris said, “I was waiting to get back to work. There are a lot of shaggy people out there!”
Since opening, the couple has been working past their normal hours to accommodate all their customers. They also have to allow more time for appointments because of more hair and having to sanitize between customers.
T.J. noted his barbershop guys all waited for a cut. He even waited until shops opened before having Kris cut his hair.
She said, “People have been really happy to see me,” she “smiled” (behind her mask). “Some of my customers have cut their own hair or had a family member do something. Nothing too bad, though.”
• Cresco Fitness Center opted to get guidance from the City Council before opening.
During the closure, staff had cleaned the facility, work rooms and old files. Some updated e-mails of patrons and painted. A pool pump was replaced, as were toilets that had cracks.
Manager Wendy Bohr explained the gym, individual workout rooms and gymnasium opened on May 18. Since then, the pool, locker room and private showers were closed but may open in a week or two with the May 20 proclamation.
A decision will be made the week of May 25 on what the pool may do. Bohr has been having life guard classes since the pandemic. Most are held online. She did invite the students to the fitness center in small groups for the CPR and first aid classes. She still has some water sessions to complete the course.
One thing that hasn’t been mentioned yet by the governor is hot tubs. “People really want to get back in the there,” the manager said. “Most of the hot tubbers have bad backs and really need that therapy.”
Even after opening the fitness center on May 18, attendance numbers are down. On May 20, 2020, there were only 59 who visited. On May 20, 2019, there were 261, but the pool was open at that time.
One of those patrons who is going to the gym is Nathan Cotant. He was extremely happy to get back to working out at the fitness center. He had been using his uncle’s basement. “It was enough to maintain and not lose progress. It’s great to be back. I won’t take it for granted again.”
Cotant also shared a point of view many people may not think about.
“I had a substance abuse problem. The gym helped me stay good for six years.” Then the gym closed. He can understand how others who have had bad habits and lost their reason for staying clean could fall back into bad habits. “My family was there to help me during this.” Some may not have that support system.
Another comment was that body builders are having a hard time getting through this pandemic, and the number of suicides has risen.
• Cresco Public Library also opened its doors on May 18. Before that, it had been having curb-side delivery of books.
On Thursday, Director Cynthia Kay said the patron count has been low since opening.
The first day, there were seven individuals and 12 phone calls. For the rest of the week, only about one person has visited the facility a day. It is just taking a while to get back into the practice.
Lickteig noted the theatre wants to offer a safe service to everyone.
And being safe is what all businesses want. But they also want to open and get back to making a living. The governor said it would be a slow opening, and it has been. Iowans just need to continue being patient and washing their hands!