Karen Chisum (right) and her employee, Michelle Hernandez are ready to open tomorrow. Photo contributed

published on May 7, 2020 - 3:18 PM
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Following the decision by the City of Clovis to roll back its emergency shelter-in-place order, some businesses in Old Town Clovis are ready to reopen.

A number of businesses have already had soft openings and even more are opening tomorrow, coinciding with the Clovis Friday Night Farmer’s Market.

“They’re very relieved,” said Carole Lester, executive director of the Business Organization of Old Town (BOOT). “They were worried about going to the end of May and not being able to open.”

Ahead of reopening, businesses owners developed a strategy to maintain public safety.

The following businesses have already opened or will be open Friday.

—Bauble + Thread

—Frost Oak Creek Creations

—Fourth Street Antiques

—Once Upon a Time

—Revival 23

—The Foundry

—Cozy Cottage

—Fifth Street

—Jackson’s Jewelry

Safety protocol includes limiting the number of customers in the the store either by halving the maximum occupancy or by calculating the people they can allow based on square footage.

Business owners are also wearing masks and sanitizing items regularly touched by customers.

They aren’t going so far as to require customers to wear masks, but they are strongly encouraging it. Businesses that want to require customers to wear masks are able to do that as well.

On Monday, the Clovis City Council voted to repeal its emergency orders, leaving enforcement of shelter-in-place guidelines to the County of Fresno and the state of California.

Some business owners wish Clove officials had gone even further.

“Initially I was really happy to hear that,” said Karen Chisum, owner of The Foundry, which will open Friday.
“If we want to open our business, it’s at our own risk,” she went to say. “It’s not really how I would like to see it happen.”

Chisum feels they can be meet and even exceed the safety standards given to essential businesses. Door knobs are cleaned often and point-of-sale machines are hands-free.

“I’m a small business owner,” she said. “I can very easily accommodate small numbers in my store in a very safe manner. I wish we had been given the opportunity to demonstrate that.”

Tom Frost, owner of Frost Oak Creek Creations, said big-box retailers have been allowed to operate, putting small businesses at a disadvantage.

“We have a very light-trafficked area that is socially distanced all the time,” said Frost.

He makes a lot of outdoor decorations and spring is his busy time of year, even more so than Christmas, he says. “We basically lost, with the events, probably about a third of our year. The bills kept coming.”

Frost runs Frost Oak with his wife and didn’t qualify for PPP loans. He applied for Economic Injury loans designated for sole proprietors and hasn’t heard back.

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