AUSTIN, Texas - Beginning May 1, retailers, including malls, restaurants, and movie theaters can open but they can only operate at 25 percent capacity.
Some businesses in Austin are deciding to remain closed for a while longer, but not Allens Boots.“I’m not a medical professional. I know the governor and state of Texas have medical professionals advising them so I'm going to trust their decisions,” said Blake Abbott, general manager for Allens Boots.
The store will open Friday from allowing in-person shopping. “Earlier in the week we started the retail-to-go, curbside, which was with cowboy boots a little bit difficult but we tried to make the best of it,” said Abbott.
The general manager said shutting the store down had profound negative effects on the business. “Probably 80 percent of all business on South Congress is tourism. That shut down coupled with the mandatory stay home order, there's literally been no foot traffic. Our staff had to go home, I had to go home, so it's been rough the past 6 or 7 weeks,” he said.
Abbott says it won't be business as usual. He will take every step to protect his customers and employees. Employees will wear masks, wipe down surfaces and boots, and maintain a distance of six feet from one another.
He's not alone.
Several retailers are opening Friday including local malls Barton Creek Square, The Domain, and Lakeline Mall. Simon, the company that owns these malls, says safety protocols are in place. Protocols like employee screenings, protective equipment, occupancy limits, and closures of play areas inside the malls.
“I think it's unprecedented territory for everyone,” said Abbott.
Abbott says he's not expecting many customers during phase one of the reopening, but he hopes the store can rebound from the hit. “Follow the safety protocols, but support local business. Get out and shop if you're able,” he said.
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