Yuba-Sutter businesses have been in the process of reopening since mid-May – with masks, increased sanitation and social distancing in place.
Local businesses are acutely aware of the need to stay compliant during the reopening process, with many owners emphasizing the extra steps they are taking to clean and make customers feel safe. They say the extra steps are worth it to restore their business flow and bring back employees.
California has allowed additional businesses to reopen in recent weeks, slowly moving the state into phase three of a four-phase reopening plan. Some of the sectors that have been allowed to reopen include restaurants, gyms and fitness studios, tattoo parlors, hair salons and barbershops, spas, retailers, shopping malls, casinos, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, hotels, museums and campgrounds.
As businesses settle into the new adjusted standard for operation, they continue to balance between operation and compliance.
Amy Johnson, owner of Rockabetty’s Hair Parlor in Yuba City, said there’s been a spike in the number of requests for appointments since reopening on May 4.
She said there are days where she has 70 requests for appointments, acknowledging that it’s been difficult at times to meet the demand.
“It’s kind of like everyone waited and now there’s like, ‘we want in tomorrow,’” Johnson said.
She said all but one of her 21-person staff have returned, noting that she and some of the cosmetologists at her parlor have posted on social media, asking for patience from their clients as they work to comply with state guidelines.
“A lot of us have posted ‘please have patience; please be patient; we care about you; we’re so grateful for everyone,’” Johnson said.
Patience is required to allow Johnson and her staff enough time to sanitize along each step of the haircut process, from the shampoo station to the salon chair and the hair drying station. She said the precautions are in addition to the already heightened cleanliness standards in the cosmetology field.
“Our whole business is based on sanitation and safety,” Johnson said. “Every time someone leaves the chair we have to sanitize, I feel like my chairs are falling apart.”
Another business that has seen an increase in business since reopening is Lambert House Cafe in Yuba City, which continued to serve to-go orders during the shutdown and reopened for dine-in service May 4.
“We’ve actually gotten busier since this whole thing started,” said Veronica Gonzalez, manager and server at Lambert House Cafe. “We’ve been doing dine-in since the beginning of May and we’ve been serving at half-capacity.”
Gonzalez said the cafe’s half-capacity rate is 21 customers inside the restaurant. She said that most of the staff who were laid off during the shutdown have returned to work, wearing masks as they work to increase sanitation at the dining tables.
“We placed a bunch of extra precautions and things to make sure everything’s clean for everyone,” Gonzalez said. “We had to pull all of our condiments on the tables and wipe them down after every use, the tables and chairs are all sanitized and ready to go.”
Jesi Young, owner of PureJoy Yoga in Yuba City, said the studio reopened on May 12 and is currently offering 18 of the 30 classes they offered pre-shutdown. She said that during the shutdown, the studio offered classes over video conference and continues to offer a mix of in-person and online classes.
“We reopened with only one class per day and have slowly been adding more classes to the schedule,” Young said in an email. “We also offer zoom classes through the week and have an online membership with over 30 filmed classes for people to practice at home.”
She said the studio has implemented new cleaning procedures including cleaning before and after each class, wiping down surfaces and limiting the number of class participants.
“We have sanitization stations in several locations. A table is set up outside the front door, in the front lobby, in the back lobby, near the bathroom, and also in the studio,” Young said.
Young said the studio waited a week after they were allowed to resume in-person operations in order to have the necessary procedures in place.
“Our community has been very grateful that we are open again, and those who are still sheltering in place have expressed gratitude for the online options,” Young said.