Retailers in Indiana begin reopening

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LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 24: People carry shopping bags along Oxford Street on November 24, 2017 in London, England. British retailers offer deals on their products as part of the annual pre-Christmas Black Friday shopping event, held this year on November 24. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- Hoosiers are now able to go out and shop in some businesses across the state. From what we saw Monday it is a very gradual opening. Governor Eric Holcomb gave the green light for some businesses to open to 50% capacity starting Monday. So what does this look like in Evansville?

For some local businesses who’ve been closed since winter, it is going to be a day-to-day work in progress to reopen.
Eastland Mall is the Tri-State’s largest retail center. But its reopening Monday did not include its three anchor stores- Macy’s, JCPenney, and Dillards. A handful of smaller stores did open up but its food court remained closed.

Elsewhere in Evansville shoppers got to shop for the first time in weeks, and the store staff is happy to see them.
“I love the people I’ve been seeing, but it’s nice to see new people,” Bissy Keown says.

Businesses like Gehlhausen Floral, Brinker’s Jewelers, and Brinker’s Etc. opened their doors and welcomed people back inside. But not like they used to. With restrictions on how many people are allowed in a business some, like Gehlhausen, are limiting even more.

“Right now right now 20 people at a time,” Keown explains. “To keep everybody in just to keep everybody safe.”

Dean Brinker, the owner of Brinker’s Jewelers, says it started with the staff.

“We called and we called in half the staff and then we had a staff meeting today so we took off from there so we’re about 50% capacity on staffing,” Brinker explains.

Gehlhausen, which sells clothing, says its staff is cleaning and airing out tried on items. King’s Great Buys Plus was considered an essential business by the state due to appliance products but it still must limit how many people come in.

“Fortunately for us traffic has been steady but we haven’t been overrun so limiting the amount of people in our store has not been an issue,” Matt Kellems says.

Extra precautions are being taken for King’s deliveries.

“In our delivery service, our delivery guys are wearing booties, gloves, and N95 masks so we’re doing everything we can to protect you and ourselves through the whole sales process,” Kellems explains.

And Brinker’s Jewelers has set out masks for customers, in case they need one.

“I’ve never had a 75-year-old female give me an elbow until today. So it was fine, she came in so we gave elbows when I’m used to getting them a hug,” Brinker says.

Monday was the start of the second phase of the plan. In this phase, restaurants, next Monday, can start opening for 50% capacity.

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(This story was originally published on May 4, 2020)

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