WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - For more than 60 days, businesses like salons and gyms have been empty. Governor Roy Cooper says as we enter phase two on Friday, salons can reopen, but gyms cannot.
Bettina Weick and her husband own Salon O2 on Oleander Drive in Wilmington. The salon is their sole income and with it being closed, it’s been a tough two months.
“Just trying to come up with money to cover expenses has been crazy,” said Weick. “We didn’t get PPP. I haven’t heard back on the small business loan. Our unemployment...we haven’t gotten. We’ve gotten nothing. We need to open.”
Along with needing cash flow again, Weick says shes frustrated with not knowing what she needs to do and which guidelines to put in place once she is allowed to reopen.
“We’ve been going on different forums to look and see how people are opening in other states and trying to follow that,” said Weick. “But here we are, two months out, we have no money to buy supplies to reopen. So we’re digging deep into savings and trying to get the money to reopen. It’s just not fair."
Weick says it’s been hard to find paper towels, sanitizer, even hair color, and treatments. She says clients have been calling non-stop to make appointments for as early as Friday evening.
“We’ve had people calling, really since day one, but especially in the last couple days," said Weick. "Everybody knows that phase two is supposed to start soon, but it’s just hard for us because we haven’t heard an official word. So we can’t even plan. We don’t even know if he says today, ‘you can open Friday,’ I don’t want to book people and have to reschedule once again. We’re all just tired of doing that.”
Weick says they plan to space the chairs out more, wear masks, but deep cleaning brushes and other tools between clients is something they’ve always done at Salon O2.
“There’s protocol that we always follow regardless of a pandemic of not," said Weick.
Gyms, like Burn Boot Camp and the YMCA, were preparing to open their doors in hopes they’d be included in phase two. But now, they have more time to prepare to reopen this summer.
“We definitely have a plan in place in which we’re going to be designating spots on the floor, ensuring people are at least six-feet apart,” said Jeff Washington, the Head Trainer at Burn Boot Camp in Wilmington. “They’re not going to be sharing equipment or rotating stations or anything else like that.”
Burn Boot Camp is not your traditional gym; there are no machines, the workouts are camp-style, and you’re only exercising for 30 minutes. But gyms like the YMCA will be implementing the same practices.
“Probably have fewer pieces of equipment available so again you can keep the social distance from others," said Dick Jones, President & CEO, YMCA of Southeastern N.C. "Obviously, if you’ve been to any of our Y’s you know we have a lot of different spaces, but working through all of that is challenging.”
The YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina had plans in place to reopen June 1, despite Gov. Cooper giving the go ahead for phase two Friday. They had been using the last few weeks to train their staff on sanitizing and cleaning equipment. Members will be screened in some capacity when entering and they’ll be asked to wear masks while inside.
At Burn Boot Camp, members will have to sign up for a camp to secure a spot instead of showing up like they’re used to. They’ll be assigned a spot on the floor to workout on and have to use a given set of weights, if needed.
These changes make it so people can get back to their routines and lives, all while helping prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“In a perfect world, we would just reopen and be right back to normal, but obviously we know we can’t do that," said Washington. "These are things we’re doing in the best interest of our members and everyone and their families and friends safe and healthy. The best thing you can do is just be patient as you reenter some of these businesses that are reopening.”
O2 Fitness keeps their website updated on their reopening plans.