Our view: Getting back to business, with safety measures in place

Our view: Getting back to business, with safety measures in place

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Anyone concerned about a snap reopening when the state’s safer-at-home order was overturned may have been surprised in Kenosha County.

Instead it has been slow and steady, one business at time, with social distancing and safety measures in place when the doors opened.

Some restaurants have continued takeout/curbside business until ready to open the dining room at reduced capacity. Some personal care businesses delayed opening until procedures were in place. Some bars immediately opened with limits on number of customers, while others waited a day or two.

It was quite a contrast to the viral bar videos that circulated from other parts of Wisconsin. And it was a contrast to the shopping that has been taking place at big box stores open throughout the governor’s safer-at-home orders.

It was immediately clear that most local business owners were making plans to open safely even as they were set back with restrictions for weeks.

Case in point was hair salons, closed since late March and suddenly able to open with great demand. Many quickly filled their schedules and set an opening date.

But they were prepared. At Rau Salon in Twin Lakes, the opening Friday featured eight of 16 stylists at any given time to maintain social distancing.

The salon, like many in the region, is expanding hours and opening Sundays to meet demand.

“We will follow WEDC guidelines,” owner Wendy Rau said. “I need to have all of my stylists and my clients feel we are opening safely. There will be no walk-ins.”

And bars, with guidance from the Tavern League of Wisconsin, opened here with safety first.

MaryBeth Van Every, owner of 75th Street Inn Pub and Grill on Highway 50 in Salem Lakes, said she is opening slowly to ensure it doesn’t send things “into reverse.”

“We are proceeding with caution for the safety and health of our employees and customers,” she said. “We want to be an example of how we can do it and how great we can be.”

She said the Tavern League recommendations and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation guidelines are “what we have implemented and they are very good.”

At Boundless Adventures zipline and aerial park in Bristol Woods Park, which opened Saturday, owner Lorrie Funtleyder outlined guidelines established with help from the Kenosha County Division of Health.

“We would like to be part of the solution by giving families a place to go outside and recreate in a safe manner,” Funtleyder said. “We have seen firsthand how hard it is to social distance, especially with the improving weather. On the Boundless Adventures course there is a natural social distancing that occurs.”

Among the changes: The 120 platforms that make up the high ropes and zipline course are spaced 15 to 20 feet apart between the trees, and guests are limited to 20% capacity of the park.

Examples like this can be found all over Kenosha County. Many business owners have waited for weeks to open, and we’ve waited for them.

Now we can support them, abide by their guidelines and protect ourselves in the process.

Kenosha County can show the way forward, as we wrote in this space last week. Our businesses are doing their part.

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