Copperas Cove: Local businesses reopen, expand services
By BRITTANY FHOLER
On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the next wave of businesses allowed to operate after having to close their doors for several weeks.
As part of Phase II of Reopening Texas, restaurants can now operate at 50 percent capacity; daycare centers are open to all, not just essential workers; bars can open at 25 percent capacity; and tattoo artists and massage therapists get to resume working.
Adam Beaumont, of Adam B Tattoos at Forever Tattoo in Copperas Cove, shared that he and the other tattoo artists at the shop were booked for nearly three weeks now that they were allowed to accept clients again.
“It’s great because we’re able to go back to work and start making a living again,” Beaumont said.
Beaumont said that he and the other artists had a backlog of people they had spoken with during the shutdown about an appointment. Once they received the green light on Monday, they contacted those clients and began setting up appointments.
“We’re slammed,” Beaumont said. “I think all of us have the next three weeks booked up. It’s a good thing because we were afraid we were going to come back and not have anything to do, or everybody was going to be broke and not have any money.”
Tattoo shops are already very sterile and sanitized to begin with, but Beaumont said that the shop has been cleaned and sanitized even more.
In addition to wearing masks and gloves and the extra sanitization, there is also a limit on how many people can attend an appointment.
“It’s a whole new set of guidelines as far as the amount of people we can have in the shop,” Beaumont said.
At Forever Tattoo, the limit is one support person per client, purely due to the size of the shop. Other, smaller tattoo parlors aren’t allowing guests.
Beaumont said he wished that he and his fellow tattoo artists had been able to operate sooner, on May 8, with the cosmetologists.
“It was very surprising being recategorized as a sexually oriented business,” Beaumont said. “We follow stricter health codes than hairdressers, barbers and stuff like that.”
Beaumont is referring to the part of Abbott’s Executive Order GA-21, issued May 6, 2020, to expand openings of certain businesses and activities, where it states: “People shall avoid visiting bars, massage establishments, tattoo studios, piercing studios, sexually oriented businesses, or interactive amusement venues such as bowling alleys, video arcades, amusement parks, water parks, or splash pads, unless these enumerated establishments or venues are specifically added as a reopened service by proclamation or future executive order of the governor.”
Copperas Cove daycare director weighs in
Daycares were included in the recent executive order and allowed to open to the public again.
Alpha Time Too Director Jess Gann said that the ratios still pose a struggle for the facility.
“They’re not actually opening them up to full capacity, so, what that means is we can provide care to all families now, whether they’re essential workers or not; however, the ratios are less, so all of our parents can’t bring their kids,” Gann said. “So, I have to go through and figure out who I’m going to deny care to, or end care temporarily, so that we can accommodate the new ratios that they put out.”
The facility’s afterschool care program typically had one provider to 18 or 20 kids but under the new recommended ratio, that number has gone down to 10 or 12 kids per one provider.
Gann said that some parents have paid to hold their child’s spot throughout the pandemic, but they might not get the chance to keep that spot.
For daycare centers, parents are not allowed in the facility. Alpha Time Too had to hire more staff to help with the child drop off and pickup.
Staff meet the child and parent at the door before taking the child’s temperature. If the temperature is normal, then the staff member will lead the child to go wash their hands.
Lil’ Tex Restaurant: things are looking up
For Jackie Ossler, manager of Lil’ Tex Restaurant, Abbott’s recent announcement means that things are looking up.
Ossler said that operating the restaurant during the pandemic was a very unique experience.
The restaurant switched to curbside/To-Go orders after all restaurants were forced to close their dining rooms.
Ossler said that this way of business was slow but still going.
“When we opened up to the 25 percent, things got better,” Ossler said.
For 50 percent capacity, which starts today, Lil Tex can seat 140 patrons.
“It’s not normal business,” Ossler said. “I understand the need to be cautious. I understand we do not want this again. We do not want this to return, we don’t want to have to this again, so we need to do it right the first time. I get that. There’s a fine line between that and being able to stay above the water.”
Ossler said the only requirements of customers is to come in and sit down. There is a one-way entrance and a one-way exit, with hand sanitizer at each door and bathroom.
There are no items on the tables when customers sit down- no sugar, syrup or creamer.
“I will have to add that most of the customers are not liking it,” Ossler said. “When they sit down, they’re going, ‘Where’s the salt, the pepper?’ They don’t like sugar packets, and none of my customers are eating out of to-go boxes. We offer- do you want plastic, or do you want the porcelain? Do you want flatware or do you want the plastic stuff? They want the real stuff.”
Ossler said that her staff are required to wear a face mask now and will be required to do so until the capacity level increases.
“I know none of it was a mandated request, but it was heavily suggested,” Ossler said. “If we go to 100 percent, the masks will just have to come off. It’s just going to be too busy; the girls are going to be running too fast and moving too quick.”
Ossler said that even when the restaurant was operating at the bare minimum, there were loyal customers coming through the line to order something very day.
“I will say it was to the generosity and support of our customers during this time or we would not be open,” Ossler said.
Some customers drove through just to give a tip to the waitresses inside.
“That shows the community’s support for us, so we have to stay up,” Ossler said. “We have to stay above the water.”
Lil’ Tex is back to its normal business hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.
Abbott’s first steps of reopening Texas started with Executive Order GA-18, which allowed “Essential Services” to continue operations and expanded the types of businesses authorized to reopen May 1, 2020, including retailers, restaurants, movie theaters, museums and libraries, contact-free outdoor sports, places of worship, and single-person offices, with each business subject to a 25 percent occupancy restriction. GA-18 also permitted all licensed healthcare professionals to return to work with minor restrictions.
Abbott announced Phase 2 on May 5, with Executive Order GA-21, which expands the categories of the reopened services announced in GA-18 and permits newly added businesses to reopen on staggered dates, with limitations, to include nail salons, hair salons, barbershops, tanning salons.
Starting May 18, offices within office buildings, non-essential manufacturers and gyms were allowed to reopen, subject to certain restriction, as well as childcare facilities, personal care services and youth clubs and youth programs.
Beginning today, breweries, bars, bowling alleys, skating rinks, aquariums and bingo halls can open at 25 percent capacity.
Zoos can reopen on May 29 at limited capacity, and youth camps, little league programs and professional sports without in-person spectators, to include professional golf, auto racing, baseball, softball, tennis, football and baseball, may resume.