Reopening Springfield: ‘We’ve been busy since we walked in the doors’

Downtown Springfield was busy Friday as people got haircuts, ate outside and acquired new body art.

Gov Mike. DeWine allowed barbershops, hair and nail salons, tattoo shops and outdoor dining at restaurants and bars to reopen as long as they followed state guidelines designed to limit exposure amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It feels great to finally be able to be open and get back to serving our clients and friends,” Jim Wagner, owner of American Tattoo Collective said.

“We’ve had a wonderful morning and afternoon. There were people ready to come in at 7:45 a.m.,” Tina Ramsey, owner of O’Conners Irish Pub said. “Everybody is keeping social distance, no one is moving my tables or bar-stools and they’re having a good time.”

Missi Byas, owner of Bombshell Beauty Parlor said, “We’re over the moon excited about being open again. We’ve been busy since we walked in the doors at 7 a.m.”

Jeanelle Cosby a client at Bombshell’s said she had done “absolutely nothing” to her hair for nearly two months.

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“I’m glad the salons are open,” Cosby added.

At Bombshell’s, clients were required to disinfect their hands at a sanitizing station as they walked through the door.

Other safety procedures instituted at the beauty parlor include asking clients to not come in if they’re symptomatic, having clients text their stylist when they arrive and eliminating use of the front desk as a checkout, Byas said.

At American Tattoo Collective, Wagner explained that they are following similar safety guidelines.

He said his clients are required to wear a mask, employees are sanitizing all surfaces, pens and clipboards after every client and appointments are limited to only the client and one support member.

“We have over 60 years of combined experience within our shop,” Wagner said. “We will continue to provide the most sanitary, safe and professional experience for every one of our clients.

Earlier this week, DeWine added tattoo shops to the list of businesses that were allowed to reopen on Friday.

It was a challenge trying to figure out what DeWine was thinking in regards to when tattoo shops would be allowed to reopen, Wagner said.

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He added that he felt like tattoo shops were “just overlooked and ignored.”

Customers at O’Conners Irish Pub and Los Mariachis were excited to be able to sit outside on the restaurants’ patios and enjoy their favorite drinks.

Jeremy Sellers and Tracie Geiger arrived at O’Conners Irish Pub at 8 a.m. Friday.

“We were looking forward to this for a long time,” Geiger said.

“It’s a start. I think it could progress a little faster than what the governor wants it to,” Sellers said. “With us both being in healthcare we’re relatively educated on what’s going on. It’s good to be back in public and see people again.”

O’Conners Irish Pub served breakfast pastries, Bloody Marys, mimosas, and ice-cold beer on Friday morning and will do so again this morning starting at 8 a.m.

Ramsey explained that her employees will wear masks, have disposable menus and sanitize bathrooms and front doors every 30 minutes to comply with Gov. Mike DeWine’s reopening guidelines.

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“There is no doubt they will play by the rules,” Sellers said.

Becky Schifer, a lunch-time customer at Los Mariachis said that it was nice to be able to get together and socialize with her friends.

“It’s nice to be able to see the restaurants have an opportunity to earn more money and get more business from the community again,” Schifer said.

Other Springfield restaurants that reopened outdoor dining include Wayside Tavern, The Ole Brick Tavern, Salato Deli and Le Torte Dolci.

Dan Freeman, owner of Salato Deli and Le Torte Dolci said that his customers have two options for outdoor seating - behind the deli or across the street at the parking garage.

On Friday, many of his customers were enjoying deli sandwiches at the parking garage seating.

Freeman said that he is excited to interact with his customers again for more than a few short moments.

“We’ve missed them,” Freeman said.

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