Most of Gothenburg’s dental offices, hair salons and barber shops have been opened back up to clients and patients for about two weeks now under very limiting restrictions.

As of June 1, those restrictions will be loosened. The new Phase II Directed Health Measure (DHM) announced by Governor Ricketts on May 21, allows for the reopening of gyms, salons, massage therapy services, barber shops, tattoo parlors with no more than 25 people or 50% capacity at a time. That is a big increase from the 10 person limit in the previously issued DHM. Except for gyms, all workers and patrons will still be required to wear a mask.

While restaurants were allowed to reopen their dining rooms on May 4, bars have had to remain closed until now. Beginning June 1 they can also reopen, and like restaurants are limited to 50% of the rated occupancy (excluding staff), with a maximum of six persons per table.

The YMCA is planning a limited opening on June 1. Gothenburg Health will help screen YMCA patrons similarly to what is done at the main hospital entrance and is providing guidance to help manage risk through this opening. In conjunction with the YMCA opening, Gothenburg Health hopes to open the Crossroads Café to the public starting June 1.

The Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with Dr. Anna Dalrymple of Gothenburg Health, is working to help support businesses during the reopening process by providing tips and advice on best practices for both their employees and customers.

“Certainly, being open is going to require more work than simply staying closed. It will require attention to detail and thinking through difficult situations. I know we are all up for this task,” Dr. Dalrymple wrote in a letter to local business owners.

She also addressed some key issues for businesses to focus on, namely frequently washing hands, maintaining physical distancing, screening those who come in, and wearing masks. Dr. Dalrymple said the most important piece of the process may lie in just creating a new culture within the business community.

“None of these things will work if there is not a genuine interest by all to keep others safe and healthy,” she said. “We will not be back to ‘normal’ for a long time, if ever, but changing how we operate can help us get moving again sooner.”

Chamber Director Deb Egenberger has also been working to put together a useful tool to help businesses in this next phase.

“The Chamber has collaborated with a lot of folks on a business playbook to offer assistance with reopening. We are suggesting that businesses do things such as let customers see them cleaning frequently, offering hand sanitizer to customers, and possibly requiring masks,” Egenberger said.

She said the playbook includes guidelines from federal, state and local agencies and clickable links, and is designed to help businesses navigate the new normal. The Chamber has also designed signs that businesses can display in their windows prominently outlining the guidelines for entering or shopping there, such as wearing masks, using hand sanitizer and washing their hands. The signs can be printed directly from the Chamber website.

For more information on either the playbook or signage, or if you have any questions about procedures for reopening your business, contact Deb at:

chamber@gothenburgdelivers.com.

Contact Ellen Mortensen at ellen@gothenburgleader.com or call 308.536.6499