Tri-Cities restaurants and retailers awaiting guidance to re-open next week


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Restaurants and retailers across the state and in the Tri-Cities are preparing to open their doors back up next week.

“We love having the in store styling experience and so that’s what we’re good at, that’s what we love,” said Azlinn Edwards, owner of Azlinn Hope in Downtown Johnson City. “We love seeing our customers walk in and then walk out even more confident and more hopeful and happy.”

SEE MORE: Restaurants, retail among the first to reopen in the state, more guidance coming Friday

Her boutique has transitioned to fully online, curbside and home delivery. She plans on limiting customers in her store.

“We’re also going to work really hard to make sure that everything is clean so every hour we’re going to make sure we can go around and clean. We’ll have the lines dedicated on the floor,” said Edwards.

Although it’s exciting to have a glimmer of normalcy, these businesses will only be able to open at half capacity.

“We stagger each table so that the guests are six feet apart. We do extra hygiene, we make sure that we are sanitizing menus and salt and pepper shakers and even the chairs whenever they get done because you don’t know what they’ve touched,” said Amber Waninger, the Front of House Manager of Texas Burritos and More in Downtown Jonesborough.

They will continue doing curbside and to-go orders while opening up the dining room, but another worry ahead of re-opening is staffing limits.

“We don’t plan on having more employees than absolutely necessary, obviously we don’t want our guests to suffer for that but we don’t want to have more people in here than what we need to have in here,” said Waninger.

In a sense, the next week will be like the last few- a day by day process.

“We’re hearing things from the CDC, we’re hearing things from our president, we’re hearing things from Tennessee’s governor, we’re hearing things from our personal mayor our town and we’re just constantly trying to take the information that we’re given and we’re trying to make sure that we continue to keep our guests safe and we continue to keep our employees safe as well,” said Waninger.

The small businesses are just hoping Gov. Lee provides industry specific guidance into the new normal.

“As a small business, you don’t have corporate telling you what to do, you don’t have numbers to back it up, you don’t have those types of things,” said Edwards. “You have to almost make a call based on how you feel in a small business. So, I’m hoping that he can just give direction for retailers especially. “

Friday morning, Gov. Lee is expected to reveal the specific procedures and guidelines these businesses can adhere to during “Phase One” of reopening the economy.

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