As the community conversation turns to slowly reopening some businesses and our economy, there are things we all can do to ensure we “open right and open once.”
“Open right and open once” is the mantra of the La Plata County Economic Recovery Task Force that I have been serving on for the past two months. We are finally to the point where we can start taking some baby steps to reopen parts of our community. Here is what you can expect as a consumer, and what you can do to keep yourself and others safe.
First, as of Friday, noncritical retail, some personal services, and offices are allowed to reopen, but only if they meet a long list of requirements designed to keep customers, clients and employees safe. Critical businesses that have been open during this crisis have to meet the requirements too, in order to remain open.
When you go into a noncritical retail business, many will want you to wear a mask. It is up to each business if they want to make this required or encouraged. To make it easy, just wear a mask. Any type of cloth face covering works. You will see employees wearing masks and gloves when they interact with you. You will also see a defined flow through the shop, as businesses are required to work toward one-way aisles as part of social distancing. You will see markings on the floor to guide you around the store, and to stay six feet away from employees and other customers. No more bulk bins for the time being. There will be lots of hand sanitizer, so wash your hands when you enter the store.
Personal services will require masks on customers because staying away six feet does not work for these businesses. They will operate on appointment only, so no more walk-ins for the time being. Check with your provider for how they will organize this.
Offices can also reopen, but only at 50% of their capacity. Office employees will also wear masks and gloves when interacting with clients. Offices are also working to minimize paper going back and forth, so expect more digital ways to pay and get your documents. Offices can also decide if they want to require customers to wear masks.
For all businesses, another new requirement is to monitor temperature and other symptoms. Just about every business will check employee temperatures and keep a log of those and any other symptoms. In some personal services where there is high contact, the client’s temperature might also have to be taken.
If you want to see all the requirements for these business types to be able to open, visit covid19.colorado.gov/safer-at-home and scroll down to the bottom of the page.
These new requirements are designed to keep you, the consumer, safe, as well as employees at our local businesses. Please look for signs at the entrances to the retail, personal services and offices that choose to open, so that you know what they expect of you and what you can expect of them.
Tim Walsworth is executive director of the Durango Business Improvement District. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.