Retail stores here in Ohio can reopen this week, but there are some restrictions


CLEVELAND (WJW) — This Tuesday, retail stores can open to customers once again but with restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re ready, we’re ready, and you know what, we just miss everyone,” said Barbara Strom, owner of La Bella Vita in Eton Place in Woodmere and Little Italy. “We are going to have hand sanitizers at the door and it has to be a thorough situation. Everybody has to wear a mask.”

All Ohio businesses have a set of protocols to follow like employees wearing masks and regularly sanitized workplaces.

“We have a new charge machine now where you can put the credit card in, I don’t have to touch your credit card,” said Strom.

*Read more stories about the impact of the coronavirus, here.*

To meet social distancing guidelines, only 4 to 8 people will be allowed in La Bella Vita during their now limited general hours. 

“But we’re expanding our ability to do private shopping almost 24/7,” she explained.

The business has increased its online and social media presence and Strom says they have been blown away by the customer loyalty as they order items for curbside pickup and delivery.

“I also want to move the inventory into something that helps people and we’re doing donations to COVID 19 Meals on Wheels with every sale,” she said.

Eliza Vietri, owner of Moonstruck CLE has been utilizing pickup and delivery. 

“We’re also doing some FaceTime personal shopping as well,” said Vietri.

Her Little Italy store is doing more of a soft opening on May 12.

“We’re doing it by booked appointment only so we’re asking people to call ahead and we’re keeping it to a rather small group initially, probably 3 or 4,” she said.

As a store with vintage clothing, Vietri says she’s been doing her research to sanitize the items as they are touched or tried on. 

“One of the things we’re considering is using a clothing steamer,” said Vietri.

*Learn more about retailers being allowed to reopen, here.*

She is also looking into using a spray bottle with alcohol. 

“What we’re finding out is that delicate antique costumes are often cleaned that way and sanitized that way,” she said.

While business owners look forward to welcoming people back into their stores, they still see a lot of their profit coming from online sales and other adjustments they’ve had to make.

“I think people are going to choose this route, these creative routes just because they want to be safe,” said Vietri.

“It’s reinvent to pay the rent,” said Strom of her new motto.

Both businesses ready to reopen their doors to customers. “Just know that you can come here and our number one concern is your safety and your health,” said Strom.

“We’re here for you and we appreciate your support,” said Vietri. 


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