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Idaho businesses start reopening with different approaches, timelines

- Idaho Press

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Following May 1, the start of phase one of Gov. Brad Little’sfour-phase reopening plan, many businesses are reopening their doors to the general public, although not all of them are allowed to do so according to the plan.

2C Family Brewing Company, a brewery and taproom in downtown Nampa, reopened May 1. Taproom Manager Angie Mullins said they weren’t sure how the business was classified under Little’s plan, because they don’t consider the brewery a bar, which would fall under the fourth phase for reopening June 13 at the earliest.

Because the city of Nampa recently announced itwouldn’t stop businesses from reopening as long as they follow health district guidelines, Mullins said management felt comfortable reopening.

Prior to reopening, Mullins said 2C Family Brewing Company was open for takeout, curbside and delivery service, but the pandemic caused a 60-70% drop in sales. Management had to briefly lay off all staff for a week, but hired them back after receiving funding from the Paycheck Protection Program.

Since reopening, Mullins said business is great. The inside of the brewery has nine tables spaced at least six feet apart, and Mullins said on their first day of reopening there was one point where every table was filled. Overall, she said downtown Nampa is pretty active despite the pandemic.

“I still see people downtown every day,” Mullins said.

[Gov. Little interview: Unemployment, evictions, events, small biz program and ‘reopening day’ visits]

The brewery has temporarily suspended food sales and is currently only offering beverages, Mullins said.

As part of Little’s plan,restaurant dining rooms are scheduled to reopen in stage 2, starting May 16at the earliest, after they’ve submitted plans for approval by local public health districts.

2C Family Brewing isn’t the only business to reopen outside Little’s plan. Slicks Bar in Nampa also opened May 1, and Indian Creek Steakhouse in Caldwell announced it was open on its Facebook page April 30.

In addition to spacing its tables at least six feet apart, 2C Family Brewing Company implemented other safety measures to follow health district guidelines. Mullins said they have limited their hours to 2-10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, employees regularly sanitize any surfaces customers touch and they eliminated all bar service. Though they don’t serve food, customers are allowed to bring their own food inside, Mullins said.

Other businesses, such as Lit&Co. Candles and The Basque Market in Boise, also reopened recently, on May 2 and May 6, respectively. As both qualify as retail businesses, they were allowed to reopen May 1, according to Little’s plan.

The Basque Market also serves food, but co-owner Tony Eiguren said they’ve kept that service to pickup orders, and removed all tables and chairs to discourage customers from trying to dine in. The store is open for customers, he said, although the market also has limited hours from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

In addition, Eiguren said they are trying to limit their customers to seven people inside the store at one time. All employees wear masks and gloves, and regularly sanitize surfaces, and the entrance has a sign listing health district guidelines and a sanitizer station.

Lit&Co. Candles requires staff and customers to wear masks, owner Kristen Jackson told the Idaho Press over email. Customers also have to wear gloves if they wish to handle any product. The business is limiting the number of customers allowed inside, sanitizing surfaces and asking employees to regularly wash their hands.

Though many other retailers and places of worship were allowed to reopen May 1, some chose to remain closed. Rediscovered Books, which has locations in Boise and Caldwell, announced via Facebook May 1 that it would keep its doors closed and continue contactless pickup and delivery, phone orders and internet sales.

“Readers and booksellers have close relationships, and we do not want to place anyone at risk,” owners Bruce and Laura DeLaney said in the post.

Jackson said she felt comfortable reopening her business May 2 because the store is “going above and beyond” the recommended health district guidelines, and she feels confident they can resume their operations safely. As she was the only person working for the business during the stay-at-home order, she also said she wanted to give her employees the option to return to work if they wanted to.

Erin Bamerhttps://www.idahopress.com/users/profile/erinbamer/
Erin Bamer is the city of Nampa reporter for the Idaho Press. Contact her at 208-465-8193, or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @ErinBamer.
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