Economies slowly reopen, retail with them

Home COVID-19 Economies slowly reopen, retail with them

By Ken Ryan

Ted’s Abbey Flooring reported a robust start to May following a better than expected April.

In recent days, more than two dozen states have lifted restrictions and allowed many businesses to reopen, although social distancing rules remain for the vast majority. Flooring retail stores are among those establishments getting the green light as business slowly returns to some semblance of normalcy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Flooring stores hope the reopening helps revive business. Frazier’s Carpet One Floor & Home in Knoxville, Tenn., enjoyed a surge of business in the last two weeks of April, according to Kevin Frazier, owner. “When other states started making noise about reopening—first Texas, then Georgia and Tennessee—traffic exploded,” he said. “Walk-in traffic popped up to 86 customers in our store last weekend—just three off the five-year average for this time of year.”

Other retailers who have opened say retail business is still slow, but they are preparing for better days ahead. “I believe we are in a very good spot for re-opening,” said Dan Smiddy, co-owner of Smiddy’s CarpetsPlus ColorTile, Terre Haute, Ind. “People have been home, looking at their floors for two months. If the interest we were getting while we were on quarantine is just a fraction of the pent-up business out there, we should have a very good summer.”

In Aniston, Ala., Ted’s Abbey Flooring reported a robust start to May following a better than expected April. “We were absolutely slammed on [May 2],” said owner Ted Gregerson. “It was the busiest our store has been in a month, and it followed a period where our phone traffic had really been picking up.”

Following is a list of states that are back open for business:


April 30 marked the end of Alabama’s statewide stay-at-home order and the beginning of a plan Gov. Kay Ivey called “Safer at Home.” Under the new order, which lasts until May 15, all retail can open at 50% capacity with social distancing measures in place.


Alaska went into phase one of the state’s reopening on April 24, with Gov. Mike Dunleavy allowing restaurants to open for in-person dining and personal care services to operate by reservation only. Retail stores were also allowed to re-open with social distancing and masks worn by all employees and customers.


Though Gov. Doug Ducey extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 15, nonessential retail businesses opened for curbside pickup on May 4. On May 8, they’ll be able to allow customers in, provided capacity is reduced and social distancing is practiced.


Gyms were the first businesses allowed to reopen in Arkansas on May 4. Restaurants will be permitted to open for in-person dining on May 11. All businesses will be required to reduce capacity and implement sanitation and distancing measures.


Colorado moved into its “Safer at Home” phase April 27, with some nonessential businesses allowed to reopen for curbside pickup. On May 1, personal care services and retail businesses re-opened with strict social distancing measures in place. Bars and restaurants will remain closed to in-person dining, at least until mid-May.


Restaurants and retail businesses across most of Florida were allowed to re-open as of May 4, but indoor capacity will be limited to 25%. Restaurants, which are also allowed to open outdoor seating, must space tables 6 feet apart and close bar seating. Several counties have been excluded from the new measures, including Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward counties, where COVID-19 case counts are highest.


Gov. Brian Kemp has made the nation’s biggest push to reopen in the country. Starting April 24, barbershops, gyms, salons and massage therapists were given the go-ahead to resume operations. On April 27, restaurants and movie theaters followed. On April 30, the state’s stay-at-home order expired, but Gov. Kemp, who has turned his attention to restarting the state’s economy, said high-risk Georgians should stay at home at least until mid-June.


May 1 marked the start of Idaho’s first stage of reopening, with most retail stores, churches and day care centers allowed to reopen.


While Gov. J.B. Pritzker extended the state’s stay-at-home order to May 30, he allowed several new categories of business to open starting May 1. That includes greenhouses, garden centers and pet groomers. Businesses previously designated as nonessential can also re-open to curbside pickup or delivery.


Stage two of Indiana’s reopening began May 4, when nonessential retail and shopping malls were allowed to resume business at 50% capacity. Gov. Eric Holcomb also ended travel restrictions and permitted gatherings of up to 25 people. On May 11, restaurants and personal-care services get the green light.


Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that 77 of the state’s 99 counties can reopen, with some limitations, on May 1. Malls, gyms, libraries and restaurants can all resume operations at 50% capacity, while horse and dog tracks can reopen without spectators. Restrictions on religious gatherings have also been lifted. The 22 counties not included in the order are those that have been hit hardest by COVID-19 in the state. They’ll have to wait at least until May 15 to re-open.


Kansas entered phase one of its reopening on May 4, the date which nonessential retail and restaurants opened to customers. Gatherings are still limited to no more than 10 people, but travel restrictions have been lifted. Governor Laura Kelly has set May 18 as the target for the second phase of re-opening, which would allow customers to return to personal-care businesses, with the exception of bars and nightclubs, will be allowed to reopen.


Gov. John Bel Edwards is easing Louisiana back into business. On May 1 restaurants were allowed to open with outdoor seating, albeit without waiter service, and shopping malls were permitted to offer curbside pickup.


Gov. Janet Mills allowed Mainers to get haircuts and go to car washes on May 1, as the state began to slowly ease restrictions. Unlike some of her fellow state leaders, Mills is not simply recommending face coverings; her order requires them.


Starting April 27, some nonessential businesses began to reopen in Minnesota. An executive order from Gov. Tim Walz applied to “workers in non-customer-facing industrial and office-based businesses who cannot work from home,” he said. Walz estimated that this would put 80,000 to 100,000 people back to work. On May 4, nonessential retail operations were allowed to begin curbside pickup.


Starting April 27, some retail businesses were allowed to open with social distancing measures in place. However, barbers, gyms, salons, spas and movie theaters must remain closed. Restaurants will still be limited to drive-through, carryout, and delivery. These orders will remain in place for at least two weeks.


Gov. Mike Parson announced an aggressive reopening that began on May 4, with no limitations on crowd size as long as social distancing guidelines are followed.


One of the least affected states, Montana has lifted restrictions for individuals and businesses. Beginning May 4, restaurants, bars and casinos were allowed to open with social distancing and capacity reductions. On May 7, schools may resume in-person instruction pending decisions from local districts. Gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys and bingo halls will remain closed.


Beginning May 4, funerals, weddings and religious services were no longer capped at 10 participants, Restaurants can reopen dining rooms at half capacity.


As of May 1, all retail businesses, including cannabis dispensaries, can operate with curbside pickup—an option previously only open to restaurants.

New Mexico

A limited reopening began in New Mexico May 1, with nonessential retailers allowed to begin offering curbside pickup.

North Dakota

Despite never issuing a stay-at-home order, Gov. Doug Burgum had ordered many nonessential businesses to close. That order ended April 30, and on May 1, all businesses, including bars and personal-care services, were allowed to reopen with restrictions in place.


On May 4, some Ohio businesses were allowed to open, including construction and manufacturing firms. But May 12 will mark the great reopening of Ohio. That’s when many retail businesses will be allowed to resume operations. Personal care services, however, will remain closed, along with restaurant dining rooms, day care centers and places of public amusement.


Personal care services in Oklahoma began operating again on April 24 by appointment only. Gyms, restaurants, movie theaters and houses of worship followed on May 1. Gov. Kevin Stitt said phase two of the state’s plan will allow bars to reopen, and weddings and funerals with more than 10 people to be held. Phase two will be implemented, he said, if hospitals remain able to handle the flow of patients for the next two weeks.

South Carolina

Retail stores previously deemed nonessential, including bookstores, department stores and sporting goods stores were allowed to reopen April 20. Gov. Henry McMaster’s order allowing their opening restricts the businesses to no more than five customers per 1,000 square feet. Salons, gyms and restaurants are still required to be closed.


Restaurants in Tennessee were allowed to reopen on April 27, and retail stores followed on April 29, provided they operate at 50% capacity. The loosened restrictions from Gov. Bill Lee will apply only in Tennessee counties without their own public-health departments, meaning large cities, including Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville, will be allowed to set their own timeline.


The stay-at-home order in Texas has expired, and the state is allowing many businesses to open back up. That includes nonessential retail, malls, movie theaters and restaurants, which must all operate at 25% capacity.


Utah never had a statewide stay-at-home order, but schools and restaurants were closed. Starting May 1, restaurants and personal care services were allowed to reopen as long as they exercise “extreme precautions.”


Gov. Phil Scott has allowed certain businesses to begin operating, including “construction operations with crews of two or less and some single-person, low-contact professional services, such as appraisers, attorneys, realtors and others.”

West Virginia

Week two of Gov. Jim Justice’s phased-in reopening plan began May 4 with the resumption of some small businesses, including barbershops, dog groomers and restaurants with outdoor seating. Nonessential retail, gyms and dine-in restaurants are scheduled to follow on May 11.


Nonessential business that can operate without customer contact, such as car washes, dog groomers and upholsterers, were allowed to open on April 29. Outdoor recreational rentals may also return to business, and nonessential retail could begin offering curbside pickup.


Gov. Mark Gordon lifted the order closing Wyoming’s personal care services, allowing those businesses to open on May 1 with social distancing measures in place.

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