Just Roll With It!

Those of us in Arkansas have been waiting with bated breath for a haircut. I told my beauty operator (friend) that I was looking like the proverbial shaggy dog story. She felt really bad about it (as least she said she did) but warned me not to whip out my scissors and do major damage.

I took the warning to heart and close my eyes when I pass a mirror. But I hadn’t even finished watching the Arkansas Governor’s press conference last Friday, May 1, before I called her. She answered with these words, “so you are calling to make an appointment.” I am now her very first appointment next Wednesday, May 6.

On Wednesday last week the Governor also announced that restaurants could open for inside dining on May 11. The operative word here is could because they don’t have to. For some of us this is much more exciting than a haircut.

The rules for opening up are broadly the same for the beauty shop and the restaurant. However it is important to understand that the challenges for restaurants are much greater than for beauty/barber shops/spas.

Restaurant Challenges

  • 6′ distancing between tables
  • masks and gloves all around (staff and guests)
  • A whole lot of sanitizing going on
  • no buffets
  • No more than 1/3 of the normal number of guests at the same time

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to suspect that the cost of opening the door, supplies, and staffing will exceed income for the restaurant owner. The good news is that it only takes six weeks to return to normal occupancy.

That is, it only takes six weeks IF there is a “Downward trajectory of positive COVID-19 tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period (flat or increasing volume of tests)” and the hospitals can “treat all patients without crisis care.”

This link will show you the guidelines as outlined by the White House. https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/#criteria

Here is how it works. If the percent positive cases and the handling of hospitalized cases meets the 14 day criteria, then the restaurants (and beauty/barber shops/favorite spa) can increase their occupancy to 66%. Two more weeks meeting the criteria allows resuming “normal” occupancy and potential for a profitable operation.

Every single COVID-19 directive (the rules) is intended to assure that the criteria can be met and keep you safe. Your job as a resident and customer is to “just roll with it.”

Some say people won’t be willing to wear masks, people will be critical of those who are wearing masks, customers won’t settle for less than “old normal.” And some of us may have developed so much fear of COVID-19 that we still won’t leave our houses.

I encourage us all to celebrate new freedom and appreciate the challenges of our local businesses. Just roll with it. And by the way, if you are in Arkansas, don’t think you can just go to Hot Springs. They have the same rules. We are all in this together.