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Businesses start to reopen in Omaha

Posted at 6:34 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 19:34:16-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — For the first time in more than a month, some businesses, such as tattoo parlors, restaurants and salons are back open to the public in Omaha.

The businesses are required to follow certain health directives and reopened under strict guidelines.

“It feels obviously a little odd, it feels good to see people,” said Thomas Sena, the manager at Garbo’s Salon and Spa Regency. Although open, the salon is limiting staff and guests to ten people inside and staff and guests are required to wear masks at all times. As well, patrons sign a waiver and have their temperature checked before entering the building. In order to keep social distances, salon staff are set up far apart from each other and a limited number of stylists are allowed to work with clients at the same time.

“We’re certainly not making a statement or taking a stand by doing it, this is simply the fact that they said we can open and this is how we do it,” Sena said.
Salons are one of many types of businesses open Monday in Omaha. Restaurants are another, as long as they follow guidelines such as limiting capacity to under 50-percent. At Stokes Grill and Bar West, the restaurants has signs showing which tables aren’t open to the public and are requiring all tables to be a safe distance apart.

“Its feels good but it feels strange, trying to deal with the new normal,” said Matt Warren, the restaurant’s general manager. He said the crowd was busier than he expected on the first day, with eight tables coming in for lunch.

“Our first table was people who drove in from Norfolk because businesses aren’t open and they wanted to get out,” Warren said.

The biggest question from critics that businesses are facing is why they should open at all. However, both Sent and Warren said they’re following the guidelines set forth by the governor and are taking the new rules day by day.

“We’ve had a lot of calls, people want to get out and we feel if we do it smart it’s right,” Warren said. “I think it’s a personal decision. Some people want to be out and some people don’t and I think you need to do what you need to do. People need to be comfortable with their decisions and we want them to know that the industry is still going strong and we’re trying to make the new normal as normal as possible.”

“We saw what was going on in the general public is a lot looser than what we’re doing,” Sena said. “There’s so much that’s unknown about it and at some point people are going to open and we’re going to be as careful as we can and see how we can do.”

Though some may be wary on heading back to stores, Sena said the staff’s calendars a full with appointments for this week at his location.

As well, Warren said his restaurant still plans on doing take out and carry out options for customers moving forward.

3 News Now asked the staff members if they're worried about being exposed to the virus. They said they're more worried about passing it to others than they are getting it themselves.

Watch reporter Phil Bergman’s story in the above video.