Businesses prepare for green light to reopen

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The state economy could start to open up again next month, but movement would be small. The governor says we haven’t reached our peak in COVID-19 cases. Many businesses in central Illinois are more than eager to open their doors again, but the governor is adamant about doing it carefully.

“It’s everything. Every system, every part of our business has been compromised,” explained Slumberland Furniture owner Paul Hausladen. Businesses all across the country are begging for the green light on May 1. In the meantime,Hausladen says he is doing everything he can to maintain sales. “We are delivering. It’s called doorstep delivery, so it’s a no-contact service. It’s free of charge.”

Hausladen said he is frustrated with the standard of who can be open and who cannot. “It’s hard when we see some of our competitors still open. I would really ask them to think about what they’re doing… putting themselves and their customers at risk,and it doesn’t seem to support what the governor has asked of us and that’s difficult.”

While customer safety is their top priority, Hausladen feels he deserves to allow people inside his store as soon as possible. “I’m asking the governor to consider… opening certain counties like ours before Chicago,” explained Hausladen.

Governor Pritzker has mentioned opening the state up by region, but he hasn’t said what that could look like. Gyms are in what President Trump has categorized as a phase one business to reopen.

Aaron Mullet and his family own Anytime Fitness in Champaign. He says they are doing a lot to be ready to open again. “We’re doing an HVAC fumigation where they come in and they basically spray the entire interior of the building with a fumigation spray,” he explained. They’re also disinfecting all equipment and touch points regularly and temporarily discontinuing their towel service.

Mullet has applied for a small business loan, but has not heard back about it. “Fortunately [I] had enough in savings to get by for one month. If this lasts for two more months, I would be in a lot of trouble.” Mullet recommends that, when they do open back up, members maintain social distances by not choosing a piece of equipment right next to another gym member. He says they are typically not at capacity and have plenty of extra space for people to work out while still avoiding other members.

He added that his advice to other people is to avoid all public places if you are sick, including the gym. If customers are feeling sick, they are free to freeze their subscription at Anytime Fitness so they don’t feel guilty about wasting money on a gym membership during that period. Anyone with questions can contact them here: champaignil@anytimefitness.com.

The Champaign Fitness Center said the following about the possibility of opening soon:

“If we get to open May 1st, we will be extremely happy to be able to serve our members again! Our mission is to help our members be healthy, strong, and fit and well, which includes reducing stress and anxiety. Our gym is quite large so distancing is not a problem. We will be putting more space between our cardio machines and we will have vinyl gloves available to wear which not only allows no contact in touching equipment but also is a great reminder not to touch your face. We will continue our cleaning and disinfecting which always has been a priority. We use hospital quality disinfectant and bleach all of our towels.  We will follow any other protocols which might be put into place.

The cost of paying for the very large space of a gym is  much higher than many smaller businesses would have so the hefty overhead is still there even when you are closed.”

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