Some local businesses in Athens have reopened with safety measures in place while others are still grappling with economic losses and how to safely resume operations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
For Dave Smart, owner of Smart Barber, which reopened Friday, business is already booming. Smart said he is fully booked until Wednesday.
Precautions at Smart Barber, 23 W. Washington St., had to be put in place to make sure the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines were being followed for customers’ sake.
Smart wears a mask and sanitizes commonly used items in his shop, like the booth, scissors, trimmers and razors. He is also only allowing two to three people in the shop at a time. Sharp makes sure people are staying a physical distance, but he doesn’t want to have a social distance with his customers.
Since barber shops have been closed, Smart’s appointments have been piling up since Friday. This has led to constant appointment calls and haircuts.
“I still have 30 people on a list to fill in my schedule next week,” Smart said.
Though Smart’s shop is open, he fears the coronavirus will decrease the number of people getting haircuts.
“It will affect me indirectly,” Smart said. “People may not come as often.”
Restaurants have to wait until Thursday before opening up their doors for indoor service.
“(The) challenges we’re facing is for everyone's health and safety,” Saundra Buck, co-owner of Ciro Italian Restaurant Kitchen and Bar, said in an email.
Ciro will be operating at 50% capacity when it reopens. Ciro has already begun the process by having outdoor patio seating, almost as a test run for what the reopening will bring.
Ciro’s plans for reopening include putting a paper sheet over tables instead of white cloth. Employees will recycle the paper cover every time the table is used. Tables will be at least 6 feet apart as well, Buck said.
Ciro will also be bringing in single-serve versions of parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Employees will also be wearing gloves and masks, which can pose difficulties when speaking to customers, Buck said.
Another difficulty Ciro faces is the financial burden the shutdown put on Buck and her staff.
“This whole situation has been ridiculously tough for us at Ciro. Being a restaurant that opened in October, we are still quite young and this has hit us financially in a way no one could have predicted,” Buck said in an email. “I’m very grateful to have my military background, because I’ve been able to keep the team spirit up while facing very difficult challenges. We were a strong team before the apocalypse, we will be even stronger as a team coming out of this.”
Buck has been in communication with other local restaurants and bars to see if there are any tips or ways the businesses can help one another during these times, she said.
Other local food stops like Bagel Street Deli, 27 S. Court St., will still be doing window-side order and pick-up due to the limited amount of space the building has.