Business owners ease into phase 2 reopenings

By Updated: May 20, 2020 4:00 AM CT | Published: May 20, 2020 4:00 AM CT

More local businesses are finally reopening their doors this week as part of phase 2 of the local Back-to-Business plan, including close-contact personal care businesses like tattoo parlors, nail salons and family entertainment centers.

Nordstrom Rack, a highly desired retailer by many Memphians that arrived in Poplar Commons in the Laurelwood area in 2017, also reopens for business Thursday, May 21.

Here’s what Phase 2 reopenings look like

BN Nails opened back up Tuesday in Bartlett, and owner Helen Vo was happy with the salon’s traffic throughout the day.

“I’m really glad to finally be back open today,” said Vo, who started her shop 12 years ago at 2807 Bartlett Blvd. in the Malco Plaza shopping center. In reopening, she’s doing body temperature checks on all customers as well as wearing masks and gloves to protect employees and customers.

During the shutdown, she applied for the federal Paycheck Protection Program by mail, but did not get a response, so reopening could not come soon enough.

“People are making a lot of appointments, and they say they need their pedicures,” Vo said.

Studio 42 tattoo and body piercing parlor at 1648 Whitten Road in Memphis is planning to reopen on Friday, May 22.

Health Department outlines steps toward Phase 3

“We trying to get our ducks in line this week so we can do it as safely as possible,” said owner Dustin Schild, who opened his parlor in early 2008.

He has been disappointed with public officials during the pandemic and with what he feels has been confusing and hard-to-find information about the new guidelines. He says he is still trying to figure out about some of the guidelines for tattoo parlors.

“I’m happy to be able to reopen just because I’ve missed working, but at the same time there’s always a concern of whether we’re doing this because it’s safe enough yet or just because it’s good for the economy,” Schild said. He also filed for federal assistance during the shutdown and has heard nothing back so far.

“Luckily I had enough money put back to be stable during this time.”

With five artists on staff, Schild is letting them come back at their own pace.

“Normally we would have only three artists working at any one time, and we’ve got enough space to be able to do that safely,” he said. “We’ve got a huge backlog of work to be done, but I want them to work as they feel comfortable because their safety needs to be my No. 1 priority.”

Phase 2 guidelines in the Back to Business plan allow for purposeful groups of no more than 50 people to gather, instead of just 10 under phase 1, but social distancing guidelines and safety measures such as employees wearing masks must still be maintained.

Restaurants, gyms and other fitness facilities can operate at 50% capacity in phase 2, versus only 25% in phase 1, while maintaining the other safety measures.

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Golf & Games Family Park at 5484 Summer Ave. reopened several of its outdoor attractions this week, including go-karts on Monday and its putt-putt miniature golf and batting cages last week.

The 40-acre center, which closed down on March 17, is holding off on opening its indoor areas that feature an arcade, laser tag and other amenities until phase 3, which will be at least three more weeks.

“Our staff are all wearing masks, and we’re doing six-foot spacing when you come up and buy range balls,” said Putt-Putt’s director of marketing Tom Uphold.

Balls are washed and range baskets are dipped in a disinfectant detergent.

The park would normally employ as many as 100 employees at this time of year.

“We’re definitely bringing back more and more of our staff as each section opens up,” Uphold said.

Guests can buy food and eat it outside or at one of four spaced stables set up inside.

Smaller children’s rides like bumper boats also have not reopened yet.

“Depending on how this next phase goes, then we’ll look at opening up others areas,” Uphold said.

The center’s driving range opened in early May in accordance with other city golf courses.

Phase 2 will last at least 21 days

“Traffic has increased every day. The last three or four days have been really good, so we’re starting to get back to better numbers,” Uphold said.

The Nordstrom Rack reopening Thursday in Memphis will follow similar safety guidelines other apparel retailers have adopted.

“More than anything, we want our customers and employees to feel safe in our stores,” the company said in a release. “We’re making some updates to our stores and the way we serve customers in them to help keep them and our employees healthy.”

They include:  

  • Conducting health screenings for employees
  • Providing face coverings for employees and customers
  • Allowing for social distancing of six feet or more, including limiting the number of customers and employees in the store
  • Increasing cleaning and sanitization
  • Modifying the fitting room experience
  • Keeping tried on or returned merchandise off the sales floor for a period of time
  • Altering hours of operation.

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coronavirus Reopening Memphis Phase 2 Back-to-Business

Michael Waddell

Michael Waddell is a native Memphian with more than 20 years of professional writing and editorial experience, working most recently with The Daily News and High Ground News.

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