BOCA RATON (CBSMiami) – Monday was a day that beleaguered business owners had been waiting for in Palm Beach County after many of them were forced to shut down on March 19 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Around Palm Beach County Monday, business like barber shops, nail salons, hair salons, restaurants and retail stores were able to reopen with restrictions under Phase 1 of reopenings.
Retail stores and restaurants were able to open at 25% capacity and hair salons were able to open at 50% capacity while requiring that customers have appointments and wear masks. Customers are encouraged to wear masks and must be there 15 minutes between appointments to allow the salons to disinfect. All social protocols must be followed.
Customers are also advised to check businesses online and call ahead to make appointments.
In downtown Boca Raton, Nel Bloom, who has owned the Dirty Blonde hair salon for two years, came to her salon Monday morning with supplies and a smile on her face.
“We are very excited about reopening,” she told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “Our staff is excited about getting back to work.” She showed D’Oench how she would operate at 50% capacity, using every other chair for appointments. She said she hoped to bring back all 14 employees that she had been forced to lay off.
“We are taking all the necessary precautions,” she said. “I understand people may feel a little uncomfortable about coming in but we are doing everything to make them feel safe. I am going to open at 8 in the morning starting Tuesday and I will work 12 hours a day 7 days a week. It has been very difficult and hard on the staff. If you are not working you cannot make money on the hair. I am eliminating non-essential stuff like the gourmet coffee and making sure people wait outside if they are early for their appointment. I may get some customers from Broward County.”
Manager Michelle Melcer said “I am very excited about getting back to work. It has been so difficult and hard not having an income. Unlike people who can work on line, we can’t do that. You can’t do hair on line. I was scared. This was very very difficult. We also thought we would not open until June. I have kids at home and this has been difficult.”
Nearby, Nina Troung, the owner of Excel Nails, was finally back at work doing the nails of Samantha Silver.
“I feel like it’s important to get back to work,” said Troung. “I am a single mom with two kids. I have to get to work. It’s really hard. I am the owner. I have to pay rent and try to get a loan. Between customers I clean the whole table and all over the place.”
“This is important. This makes us feel better to clean up a little bit,” said Silver.
Gyms, fitness centers and bars that generate 50% or more of their total sales from liquor will remain closed as will the beaches in Palm Beach. They will reopen May 18th with restrictions.
Retail stores opened at 25% capacity.
Chantal Gaudreau, the co-owner of Designer Resale, said “We are really happy to be open again but like the sign on our door says, we have disposable gloves for every client who comes in and we wipe down the surface after every customer and use a special credit card pad and we ask everyone to have their own mask and if they don’t have one, we have them here. I think it’s important to go slowly and what we have learned is that we have to listen and act prudently.”
Co-owner Ayla Habibi agreed. “We are very happy and excited to be open again. We hope our clients will come back little by little to us.”
Restaurants are also opening at 25% capacity and customers will be allowed to dine outdoors.
Tim Baker told CBS4 he was looking forward to sitting outside his restaurant for the first time in nearly two months.
“I feel great,” he said. “I feel safe and secure. The restaurant took additional precautions for our safety. It is a relief. There is now a sense of normalcy and getting back to what it should be and having social interaction with people. It is really bringing it home.”
While Palm Beach County Commissioners decided last Friday to reopen beaches, they will meet again this Friday to work out the details and new restrictions for the beaches when they reopen next Monday.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has said his “target date” for a Phase 1 reopening of businesses in Miami-Dade was Monday, May 18th. He did not say which businesses would be able to reopen.
— to miami.cbslocal.com