LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4) – As Colorado’s stay-at-home order gradually transitions into safer-at-home, business in downtown Loveland is taking a small step toward returning to normalcy. The downtown area is dominated by small businesses like art galleries, breweries, salons and restaurants.
Following CDC guidelines, many businesses in the area reopened on Friday, but enforced strict customer and staff protocols upon entry. Tommy Ward, owner of Tommy’s Barbers and Blades, required customers to wait outside to be cleared before entering his business.
Ward asked customers of their recent health history with coughing, proximity to those with symptoms, their contact information and even took their temperatures.
“None of us went to medical school. We are just a business guy and some barbers trying to make a living. We have social distance markings, everything is six feet apart or more,” Ward told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “We are sanitizing completely, top to bottom, between every customer.”
Though his company’s workflow isn’t the same as before, Ward said it was nice to finally reopen his business to customers.
“It’s nice to get back to work,” Ward said.
Other area business owners said they were comforted to reopen by appointment, and see people back walking the street.
“(COVID-19) has really slow downed business,” said Jessie Clifton, owner of Cosmic Dog pet grooming in downtown Loveland. “We have to take the time to sanitize in between the dogs and people coming in.”
Clifton used to allow walk-in self-wash appointments at her pet grooming business. Now, to promote social distancing, only one customer is allowed to wash their dog at a time.
While it may not be the complete return to business many may have wanted, local customers said they were pleased to see the precautions being made by the business owners and staff.
“I think it is fantastic for the downtown economy,” said Ken LeFon, a Loveland shopper.
“It takes care of (the businesses), and it takes care of me,” said Leesa Tenney, a Loveland shopper.
Business owners said they were happy to be open, once again, even if it is not at full-scale.
“(Owning a small business during COVID-19) has been a challenge. It is a new work environment.
But, it is a work environment, so we will take it at this point,” Clifton said.
“We can do it right, and we can do it safely,” Ward said.