Gyms, Spas, Tattoo Shops Among Vt. Businesses Next to Reopen

The close-contact businesses may resume operations Monday—with state restrictions

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Vermont's governor Friday announced a list of businesses that can resume operations on June 1, after they were closed for two and a half months to fight COVID-19.

The list includes gyms, nail salons, tattoo shops, spas, and massage parlors.

The businesses must follow restrictions, like only operating at a quarter of their normal customer capacity at first, and serving residents of the state or people who attest to completing a two-week quarantine.

At Champlain Valley CrossFit in Williston, owner Jade Jenny will take a couple of extra days to set up new systems aimed at cutting crowding, he said.

"We had a successful business two and a half months ago that got turned off like that basically, so now we have to almost rebuild the business to a certain degree," Jenny told NECN.

Chelsea Russell owns La Bella Derma, a spa in Winooski that offers services such as facials.

"We're excited to get back in and see our clients again," Russell said after learning she could reopen her business under new state guidance.

The spa owner said she is planning on spending a week focusing on staff training, to make sure she's up on all new state requirements, including maintaining a client log in case contact tracing is needed.

"Safety is number one," Russell observed.

Low rates of new coronavirus infections and hospitalizations in Vermont have the state reopening many sectors of its economy, but slowly, with the governor pointing to hotspots very close by, including parts of Massachusetts.

"We continue to see very low case numbers because Vermonters are using common sense and good choices," said Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont. "This must continue if we want to open things further."

Indoor restaurant dining and aspects of Vermont's all-important tourism economy are among the businesses still awaiting the opportunity to restart--which Scott has said he will authorize only when he is convinced disease activity both locally and regionally is low enough to safely do so.

At The Edge, a large fitness center in Williston, co-owner Mike Feitelberg showed NECN how indoor sports fields are now housing gym equipment spaced 10 feet apart, with fans drawing fresh air from the outdoors.

Work to establish that physically-distanced workout space is still underway, the businessman noted.

"We're really trying to create a best practices facility," Feitelberg explained. "We feel very prepared that these clubs are set up to create the kind of air circulation and flow that I think is what everyone is really looking for."

Feitelberg said his business, which also has locations in Essex and South Burlington, will take an extra week from the allowable reopening to complete preparations. That time will allow for upgrades aimed at reducing the risk of the virus, he added, like swapping out old drinking fountains for new, touchless models.

Friday also brought word from Scott that the allowable size of gatherings can increase to up to 25—up from 10—potentially making for larger backyard cookouts and other activities.

However, allowable capacity at outdoor dining and retail operations have not increased, Scott pointed out. The limit on those establishments is, for now, still at 25% capacity, Scott said.

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