BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — On Tuesday afternoon, Western New York entered Phase Two of the state's reopening. It was exactly what businesses like JNR Salon wanted to hear.
"It feels great," owner Jennifer N. Robertson said. "Our clients have been anticipating this moment."
She has clients booked for later Tuesday with more appointments throughout the next few weeks. But these are no longer typical appointments, with new safety measures in place. A client will first fill out a form online, confirming they're not feeling ill. When they get to the Salon, they need to wash their hands with soap and water. They'll also be required to wear a face mask their entire appointment.
"This is me opening my doors to you," Robertson said. "So I want you to feel as comfortable as you would feel at home, here."
The same feeling rings true at The Bookworm & BW Gifts in East Aurora. The longtime bookstore and staple in the community has flipped that neon sign on and the customers have showed up.
"This is our favorite little bookstore," customer Karen Pratt said, who was there with her granddaughter. "I'm happy it's here."
Hand sanitizer is now at the front door with a plexiglass shield at the register. Each book that comes in is cleaned with a bleach solution and the store will soon be offering appointments for those wishing to shop alone.
"I think that's important,"manager Jennifer Reisdorf said. "To make them feel comfortable to come into the store."
Some clothing stores have new procedures too. Denielle Webb is the owner at The Dress Shop in East Aurora and said some clothes may stay off the shelves longer.
“When somebody tries something on, we’ll just leave it aside for 24 hours and then put it out the next morning," Webb said.
Because that's what it's all about. Things may be different but workers are happy to be back, be essential, and once again get a paycheck.
"We still had to take care of our families and our homes and our children," Robertson said. "Now we can actually get back to work to provide not only for us, but for our community."
Businesses allowed to reopen as part of Phase Two includes:
- Real Estate
- Essential and Phase II In-Store Retail
- Vehicle Sales, Leases, and Rentals
- Retail Rental, Repair, and Cleaning
- Commercial Building Management
- Hair Salons and Barbershops
Malls are not a part of the Phase II reopening process, unless the store has a separate outdoor entrance. The Walden Galleria said it hopes the state will reconsider, and allow some of its retail stores to open. In a statement sent out by the mall's management group the mall said the large open space easily facilitates social distancing, and allowing stores inside to open will lessen the density at open stand-alone stores.
Restaurants are set to reopen in Phase Three. Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul touched on the topic during a Tuesday afternoon press conference.
“Assuming we are smart, social distancing, wearing masks, and the health numbers continue to improve, restaurants should start making their plans now, and before long customers can start making their reservations.”
Western New York is set to start Phase Three on June 16th if it stays on track.