Local businesses begin to reopen while still following social distancing guidelines

by Benjamin C. Nelson

MACON, MO -- After over a month of businesses being closed and citizens ordered to stay home unless partaking in essential activities, the Missouri Stay at Home Order (which began on April 6th) ended at midnight on May 4th. Governor Mike Parson and other health officials rolled out a "Show-Me Recovery" plan which outlined guidelines for businesses to follow when reopening. The Macon County Health Department provided a thorough list of recommendations for local businesses to follow when reopening (the link is provided at the bottom of this article). Additionally, it was recently announced that there are zero active cases of COVID-19 in Macon County and that both previously confirmed cases have fully recovered. As of this publication (May 6th @ 8:45 p.m.) In Missouri, there are approximately 9,102 cases of the virus reported by the state health department along with 396 deaths. Nationwide, reported by World-O-Meter, there have been over 1 million cases of the virus, 74,799 deaths, and 212,981 recoveries.

We reached out to several local businesses to talk about reopening.

CALEB SHOUSH OF C.A. SHOUSH COMPANY (Closed on March 23rd and reopened on May 4th):

"The opening for this week has gone smooth. I was not sure what to expect. We have probably had 10-15 customers come in per day this week. It has been a slow week with walk-in traffic, but we have continued to get a lot of phone/email orders. We are keeping busy for the time being. Usually during this time, we would be swamped with orders for ball teams and tuxedo fittings. Last year we did 70 baseball and softball teams, so it's a bummer we are missing out on all that business this year. The same goes for tuxedos. We normally do around 170 rentals every year. We were lucky enough to get the PPP grant and the EIDL grant. A huge thank you goes to Jared Weydert with Macon-Atlanta State Bank for getting us this grant money fast! I know a lot of people did not get anything with the first package or anything at all. Customers have been compliant with social distancing, using hand sanitizer before entering the store, and we have continued to disinfect the store multiple times a day. Needless to say, we are all anxious to get back to normal, but we are still trying to take things slow as a precaution."

NOAH HEATON OF ASHLEY'S APPLE BASKET CAFE (Closed on March 18th and reopened on May 4th):

"The opening yesterday and today (May 4th and 5th) was as busy as a weekend, so very pleased with that. We have seen our pre-COVID19 to go orders go from 10% of our business to yesterday’s number they made up 45%. On a personal note, I came to Columbia today for a doctor apt. And they kept me because my immune system counts were so low I had to be admitted. But we have an awesome staff of 32 employees and I have the greatest confidence in them. My wife and management team is hard at work without me there. The two weeks prior to opening we had 15 employees work 32 hours to deep clean the entire restaurant. We are pleased to serve our community and so glad they showed their support in us yesterday and today."

Macon County Reopening Guidelines: https://www.maconmohealth.org/recommended-guidance-documents-for-reopening/

Headline picture taken by Reporter Benjamin Nelson