After being virtually frozen for more than a month, Glendale businesses started to take tentative steps forward last week.
From Westgate to Arrowhead, shops and restaurants were open, though with far less patrons than normal. Though restaurants were slowly accepting dine-in customers, the AMC Westgate movie theater and many shops remained closed, leaving plenty of space for those walking around.
It was not the case everywhere, but some employees were wearing masks.
The slow pace is the way Gov. Doug Ducey wants it. Like a lifeguard at a pool, Ducey’s message is, “Walk, don’t run.”
Ducey announced May 12 that his stay-home executive order would end three days later.
“It is time to move forward with the next steps of Arizona’s economic recovery—while continuing to make health and safety our number one priority,” Ducey said.
“This is not a green light to speed,” he added. “This is a green light to proceed.”
Ducey said as long as they practice physical distancing and enhanced sanitation, gyms, spas, swimming pools and movie theaters could reopen. But few were ready to do so. Sit-down movie theaters have not reopened, although the West Wind Glendale Drive-In is open and Westgate has a makeshift drive-in theater.
And, though some casinos in the state reopened, Desert Diamond Casino West Valley stated on its website it would remain closed through May.
When Ducey allowed barbers and salons to reopen last week, many rushed to get coiffed for the first time in nearly two months.
Dannele Palmer, regional manager of Floyd’s 99 Barbershops, said the Glendale/Peoria location, like others, has been busy.
“It’s been great,” Palmer said. “With opening of course there’s nerves and excitement—the unknown, how are we going to do sanitizing. We were all wearing masks and a little unsure how it was going to go.”
But, she said, barbers and stylists adjusted on the fly: “They had it down like they’ve been doing it forever. Every hour, we’re doing a thorough sanitizing.”
The new Floyd’s 99 motto: “No mask, no service.”
Palmer said customers have adjusted to the guidelines well.
“We’re only running at 50% capacity,” Palmer said. “We had 14 chairs; we’re only running eight.”
That fits the Ducey “no speeding” guidelines.
“We’re completely booked up. We’re booking a couple days in advance,” Palmer said.
To emphasize social distancing, Floyd’s 99 is not accepting walk-in customers. Those who have booked an appointment are asked to check in by phone before entering the shop.
“Before you enter the shop we do require a mask. We have one to offer them if they don’t have one,” Palmer said.
The Glendale/Peoria Family YMCA is open—but with reduced hours (6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. during the week, closed weekends). And, according to a staff member who asked not to be identified, “Pool and basketball won’t be open until June 1.”
Though the 18 Mountainside Fitness centers around the Valley, including Arrowhead Mall and Peoria, did not open last week, that was to change this week.
“I am excited to welcome you back to Mountainside Fitness on Monday, May 18, as our fitness centers reopen,” Tom Hatten, Mountainside’s CEO, said in an announcement.
“Our clubs are going above and beyond to ensure your health and safety,” he said.
Mountainside Fitness has the following new policies in place, according to its website:
• Sanitizing stations available throughout the club, including the front desk.
• Staff will disinfect frequently touched areas with CDC-approved products.
• Cardio equipment will be spaced accordingly to support social distancing.
• Group Fitness classes will have decreased capacity and will be available for pre-booking 12 hours prior to class.
• All employees will have temperature checked prior to each shift and will wash hands regularly.
• Children entering Mkids child care will have temperature checked, and any child with a temperature above 99.9 degrees will not be permitted.
Many restaurants have been seating customers for more than a week now, though again with Ducey guidelines for reduced capacity and social distancing.
Michelle and Brian Bojanowski, owners of Twisted Italian in Peoria’s Lake Pleasant Pavilion for five years, welcomed back regulars last week.
“We definitely have a lot of locals that come in. They’re so happy. They’ve been waiting for our lasagna,” Michelle Bojanowski said.
Though Twisted Italian, like many other West Valley restaurants, remained open for takeout during the previous Ducey ban on dining in restaurants, it wasn’t the same for many regulars.
“They’re happy we’re open. They’re excited to be out and about,” Bojanowski said.
It’s hardly “business as usual,” as Twisted Italian has reduced hours and capacity.
“We took out a lot of tables, so we do have reduced seating. It’s as good as we could have hoped,” she said.
At Tailgaters Sports Bar in north Glendale, an employee said, “We’re doing all right” since reopening for in-house eating and drinking.
“We’re staying pretty consistent, not bad at all,” said Mike, a manager at the Yard House in Westgate who asked to not have his last name used. “We’re being sanitized and having 50% occupancy. … All restaurants should be doing it.”
Babbo’s Italian Eatery in north Glendale/Peoria also is strictly following guidelines since reopening for seated customers last week, said Jenna Harris, a manager.
“For all of our staff, it’s mandatory to wear masks and gloves, and we’re doing social distancing—everyone 6 feet apart in the restaurant and bar,” Harris said.
How are patrons dealing with the new look?
“They’re fine. They’re glad we reopened,” Harris said.
“They’ve been waiting for us.”