COLORADO SPRINGS — As Colorado works together to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, reopening businesses that have been forced to close is a huge step. On Friday, May 1, retail and personal services can open if they follow a certain set of guidelines. As News5 learned, while many are excited to be back in business, there is a bit of anxiety that comes with opening their doors again.
Rocky Mountain Soap Market said they closed on the day the Stay at Home order started, but continued online sales and can also be purchased at Safeway stores. The Store Manager, Cindy Puleo, said they are lucky to have a strong customer base and have been providing a curbside service since Monday. The shop is one of several small businesses that will be opening on Friday. "We are very excited to be open and look forward to what our new normal might be. Of course, there's are a lot of unknowns and uncertainty still, but we feel pretty confident in what we're doing," said Puleo.
They will be operating under a variety of guidelines, including checking in with every employee at the start and end of a shift. "We will have hand sanitizer at the front that they [customers] can use, we're going to be encouraging gloves and a mask. We'll also going to offer a discount for any customers that do have a mask and gloves on... We the staff ourselves will be wearing gloves and masks the entire time... We plan to close the doors every hour or as needed to do a real thorough sanitizing, especially products that have been touched, things that have been used," said Puleo.
Puleo said they did get federal support money from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which allowed the shop to fund their payroll.
Another business opening on Friday is Honey Salon and Spa, which has been busy booking appointments already. One of the owners, Fania Samora, said they will be requiring clients to wear a mask and wash their hands upon entry. "We're all set. We're ready to open our doors and follow a new norm... If you don't feel well, don't come in," said Samora.
Samora also said they have nine people who work as independent contractors with Honey Salon and Spa. Two of those people will not be returning to work in May, and will more than likely wait until June to come back into the salon. "They're just waiting to see if we have a second wave, want to see how the first two weeks turn out," said Samora.
Both Rocky Mountain Soap Market and Honey Salon and Spa said they will limit the number of people in their storefronts to ten total. There are different requirements for a number of industries, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's website details them all.
Those with the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center said there are some businesses that have decided to wait to reopen. The Executive Director, Aikta Marcoulier, said there can be some anxiety related to reopening. "You don't have to open when everyone else says they're opening. Take your time because there's certain regulations that you need to put in place... Some businesses are waiting, some businesses are opening but very slowly, in their own phased approach," said Marcoulier.
Marcoulier said it's especially important to consider the lack of tourism currently. "Are there going to be those individuals that actually walk through for me to spend my PPP loan on payroll, or should I have waited a little bit longer? I think as a business owner you have to weigh that excitement with what is reality," said Marcoulier.
The Small Business Development Center also said on Wednesday night, small banks got a leg up on the larger banks when it came to submitting PPP applications. Marcoulier said it is a way to try and get more federal money into the pockets of small businesses.