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Retailers in Andalusia looking forward to reopening on Friday

By: Ora Nelson

Many retailers in Andalusia are opening their doors in response to Governor Kay Ivey’s “safer-at-home” order.

“I think it’s going to be good,” said Chris Lawrence, owner of Christopher’s Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, Inc. “We’re all good opening back up on a limited basis.”

“I’m very excited and optimistic about it [reopening], said Marrianne Thomason, owner of Pink Peppers. “I encourage everyone to come out and shop local.”

Businesses like Ward and Co. and Christopher’s Diamonds started serving customers by appointment during the shut down to promote social distancing. Others like Pink Peppers went to a curbside and delivery system to keep business afloat.

Now, most are returning to normal business hours on Fri., May 1.

“I think it’s a good idea for stores to open,” said Mike Ward, owner of Ward and Company. “The economy has to start again. People need to work.”

“I think it’s probably the right decision,” said Gabby James, owner and manager of Touch of Country. “I’m grateful to be opening tomorrow and hope that we’ll have customers and that everyone in the community shops local.”

But some businesses are concerned with the risks involved with reopening at this time.

“To open retail right now is kind of crazy to me,” said Christina Tillis, manager of Shoe Department in Andalusia. “There are customers that…walk up to you [an employee] despite you trying to maintain the six feet. I don’t think it’s a good situation with all the close contact required in our job.”

Tillis admits that the situation is a “lose-lose either way” with her employees “needing to be able to work to make money.”

“People need to take precautions if there’s someone that’s sick at home and they still need to take care of them,” said Thomason. “This is going to be a new normal and we’re going to have to adapt.”

All retailers are required to maintain social distancing and sanitation rules outlined in the “safer-at-order.”

“There will be a 10 person limit within the store and others will have to wait on clearly marked lines outside the store to wait to go in,” said Tillis. “We will also require a 6-foot distance between employees and customers.”

“We don’t have a lot of people in the store at one time and that allows us to space and distance ourselves,” said Lawrence. “We have masks and assume that if someone comes in wearing a mask, they’d want us to wear one too so we’d put it on.”

Lawrence asks that people use common sense and caution when going out within the community.

The interviewed businesses will be opening on Friday, May 1, and will resume normal business hours completely the following week while following proper guidelines and regulations.