COOS COUNTY — As community members from around Coos County continue to adjust to the “new normal," so do many businesses as they reopen their doors under strict new COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Since receiving approval from Gov. Kate Brown’s office to begin reopening under her Phase 1 plan, businesses throughout the county have modified their day-to-day operations to safely reopen for in-person services.
Under Phase 1, businesses such as restaurants and bars, personal services like salons, gyms and malls were given the go-ahead to reopen in Coos County, but with restrictions. For restaurants and bars, that includes a number of new guidelines such as implementing new social distancing and occupancy rules as well as increased sanitation.
Last week, Clausen Oysters in North Bend reopened its restaurant to customers for sit-down, dine-in services under the new safety guidelines. General Manager Jean Berry said in preparation for the soft reopening, employees spaced out tables at least six feet apart, placed hand sanitizer stations throughout the facility and posted signs reminding folks of social distancing.
According to Berry, staff members are continuously disinfecting tables and cleaning commonly-touched areas as well as wearing face masks, gloves and other personal protective gear.
During the reopening, she said customers have been encouraged to wear masks, as well. They're also encouraged to dine in the restaurant’s outdoor patio area, which is currently undergoing minor renovations, which include a new fence and flower planters. The restaurant is still providing to-go and online options for customers looking to find other ways to access its products, said Berry.
“We want people to know that we’re open and that we’re following all the required safety guidelines,” said Berry. “We’re looking forward to seeing everybody and serving the public again.”
Suzy Gibbs, the owner of Jennie’s Shoes in Coos Bay, said she’s also looking forward to expanding their reopening plans next month and helping customers in need.
According to Gibbs, the store, which closed in March for about a week, remained mostly open under restricted hours after noticing an increased demand for its services from frontline workers.
“I got so many calls from our essential workers that needed footwear,” said Gibbs. “So we were open the whole time, but with limited hours and by appointment. … We are gearing up, though, to open up for a couple more days.”
On June 1, Gibbs said the store will expand the hours and days it is open to the public. With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, Gibbs said employees will continue to wear face masks, sanitize and wipe down areas between each customer and implement social distancing rules for those inside the store.
Recently, employees installed a new Plexiglas frame for shoe fittings at the store as a way to protect customers and employees from any potential exposure, said Gibbs. Curbside services are also still available to those who are interested in accessing Jennie's Shoes' products, but are not comfortable coming inside, Gibbs said.
Also still offering curbside services are many of the businesses inside the Pony Village Mall in North Bend, which reopened on May 15.
According to Simon Alonco, the mall’s marketing manager, the mall reopened under the governor’s new guidelines earlier this month by posting signs reminding customers to socially distance themselves from others, limiting the number of entrances and exits and directing foot traffic to move in one direction.
With a variety of different types of businesses such as restaurants, retail stores and beauty salons, Alonco said mall officials are working closely with its tenants to provide additional resources like extra hand washing and hand sanitizing stations.
“We have allowed for our businesses to choose when they are ready to open because we know that every business has specific guidelines they need to follow,” said Alonco. “So, we’re supporting them individually to make sure that they are able to open whenever they choose to do so.”
Mall security is monitoring occupancy limits inside the mall and making sure people are following social distancing rules and not overcrowding or congregating in certain areas. Each business will implement its own limitations and restrictions in compliance with the governor’s Phase 1 reopening plan and will have its own occupancy limits, said Alonco.
“The mall has purchased chemicals that kills the virus and staff is doing double, triple, quadruple sanitation to make sure things are good to go,” said Alonco. “… I know there are many people that still feel it’s not the right time to come out into the community and we totally respect and understand that. We just want to remind everyone that there are multiple businesses still offering curbside, delivery and online options.”