Anchorage businesses prepare to reopen without capacity restrictions

Published: May. 20, 2020 at 7:20 PM AKDT
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Beginning on Friday, all businesses across Alaska will have the ability to open without capacity restrictions imposed by the state. But some businesses have mixed feelings on how to proceed.

At Catelyn's Place Day Spa in South Anchorage, owner Catelyn Schnell says she is ready to move forward onto the next phase but at a slower pace.

She says business has been going well since it reopened last month. It's even extended its hours to get all of its customers in for appointments.

As a business owner, Schnell is happy with the current pace of reopening.

"I feel like we are ready, but as a personal choice between me and my team, we've decided that until we as a team feel comfortable that we will be keeping most of the stuff in place," Schnell said. "Just for the safety and if there is a re-occurrence, we already want to be on onboard and we want to do our part in making sure the community is completely safe and not just go gung-ho and put people at risk including ourselves."

Once it can reopen at full capacity, it will once again offer services like facials.

At Piper's Restaurant and Sports Lounge in Spenard, business is also picking up every day, according to Food and Beverage Manager Cathleen Lehr.

It's been open for nearly a month and is one of the first restaurants that started at 25% capacity.

Lehr says the biggest challenge going through the gradual reopening has been maintaining physical distancing guidelines but is ready to open without capacity restrictions.

"We want to capture as much of the tourist season as we can obviously, with losing the cruise lines all that type of thing it's going to be a struggle for a lot of places that depend on the summer to get through, so this is obviously the first step to getting there, but I think it is going to be a long process," Lehr said.

Both businesses plan to keep the current health protocols in place until further notice.

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