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Coronavirus In Ohio: Some Retail Stores Cautiously Reopening

Easton Town Center reopened on May 12, although some stores are still closed.
David Holm
Easton Town Center reopened on May 12, although some stores are still closed.

Tuesday's reopening of retail businesses was a mixed shopping bag.

Under Ohio's updated stay-at-home order, retailers were allowed to welcome customers again Tuesday, provided they follow new health guidelines.

Some stores, like Wild Cat in Clintonville, didn't rush to reopen. The craft shop plans to remain closed through the month of May and eventually open up to customers by appointment only.

While Polaris Fashion Place and Easton Town Center in Columbus both reopened, several stores in each mall remain closed.

Other businesses proceeded with caution.

Fabtique is the only retail store open at Shops on Lane Avenue in Upper Arlington. Co-owner Amber Wilson says she planned the relaunch carefully after surveying loyal customers.

“We also got feedback from our customers that they were ready for us to open as well,” Wilson says. “So we wanted to make sure that it was a good fit for everybody.”

Retail stores have been allowed to offer curbside pickup for the last week, while many kept the lights on for the past two months with online orders.

“We started online last month and we’ve had pick up orders come in, and we’ve had some shoppers come in," Wilson says. "And so, you know, we’re getting there."

Wilson is requiring customers to sanitize their hands immediately upon entry and wear masks.

“Being a small business, we can react a lot faster than some of the bigger corporate stores to get us ready to open by today,” she says.

Columbus resident Amy Besong wore a mask as she and her small children shopped at a Half Price Books, which had a light but steady stream of shoppers Tuesday. Besong says her kids needed new books, because libraries are still closed around the state.

“We’ve shopped a little bit online, but sometimes the prices are more and shipping times are a little bit long for us for some of the places we’ve ordered from," Besong says.

Most customers were wearing masks, although they weren't required, and the store had markings on the floor and one-way lanes to keep customers properly spaced.

Salons, barbershops, tattoo and piercing studios, and restaurant patios will be allowed to re-open to the public on May 15.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.
Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.