Businesses slowly opening after green light from governor


"There is a fear, but it's a healthy fear."

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Even though all dentists got the green light to start operating on Monday (May 11), some have decided they’re going to wait a little longer before opening up. But Dr. Kenton Ross of Ross Dental in Fayetteville said his practice is taking a slow approach to gaining a new normalcy.

Ross said that even though his office never completely closed, about 500 patients had to be rescheduled. It was always open for emergency procedures and in that time staff have been training and getting used to the new protocol.

Dr. Ross said while dentistry has always been invested in infection control, patients will notice some changes in how his, and other offices do things.

This includes getting a call before the appointment to get screened, having patients wait in the car instead of the waiting room, and taking temperatures before going into the building. Staff will also be wearing masks the entire time as a way to protect themselves from the virus.

“There is a fear, but it’s a healthy fear,” Dr. Ross said. “That fear motivates us to be very disciplined about the way we contain things.”

Restaurants were also able to open Monday, at 33% capacity. But some are choosing to stay closed a little longer.

Todd and Nickki Golden are the owners of Mermaids Seafood Restaurant and said they’re going to wait for the second phase before they reopen for a few reasons.

They want to see how the community accepts dining in at other restaurants first. When considering the size of the restaurant, reopening will take a lot of preparation that would be a big loss if they had to close down again for any reason.

Secondly, the Goldens simply don’t feel that it would be safe for both customers and staff to open right now. While they are getting pressure to start serving again, many people they have talked to personally said they would not come in and eat.

And finally, they said the current restrictions would change the overall dining experience.

“In our case, how do you have a world-class dining experience when you have to have your expensive bottle of wine opened at the table with someone wearing gloves?” Todd said. “Then you’re having to taste it and having to take your mask off.”

The Goldens said when they do open, social distancing will be easily enforced because of all the space in the restaurant and they will be using disposable menus.

Fish City Grill in Rogers opened Monday, and owner Brett Brundige said success is relative. He said there are more customers than there have been during the past few weeks of curbside service, but it’s nowhere near the numbers they were pulling last year at this time. He said he understands that some people are not yet ready to dine in, and will still have curbside service in the meantime.

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