Klamath Businesses Welcome Customers Back

This article was published in Sunday’s (May 17th, 2020) Herald and News
Written By: Becca Robbins, H&N Staff Reporter 

Klamath Falls businesses are opening their doors and setting up their dining rooms after Governor Kate Brown approved Klamath County for phase one of reopening, which began on Friday.

While some threw open their doors Friday morning for customers they likely haven’t seen much of since March, some are working back up to their normal hours and operations.

Nibbley’s owner Debbie Caldwell is excited to reopen her dining room to reservations and walk ins after about a month of offering take out for lunch and dinner specials. She said at Nibbley’s they were taking precautions before businesses were restricted by doing things like removing flowers and salt and pepper shakers from tables.

The biggest thing that Caldwell said is new to the precautions her business must take is supplying masks for employees.

Although business was slower than usual while the restaurant was limited to take-out, Caldwell introduced dinner specials, such as fish and chips, which were very popular, she said.

Caldwell is reducing the seating capacity at Nibbley’s to comply with phase one guidelines for businesses of keeping six feet between tables and is gradually bringing serving staff back. She said they’re also wiping down menus and sanitizing often.

“We all have our own clientele and ours will be happy to see us and we’ll be happy to see them,” she noted.

Although business was slow during stay at home orders, Caldwell said she’s been in business for over 40 years and was able to cut some corners to keep the business afloat.

“We just want to get back to doing what we love to do,” she said.

She expressed that if anyone needs help during this time, she’s always available and that customer safety is a priority of hers.

Liz Nelson is reopening Painted Pieces’ storefront, with normal hours resuming on Monday, after the business was only doing custom jobs and curbside pick-up. Nelson said she feels it will be easier for small businesses to accommodate the distancing and sanitizing guidelines as she never has hundreds of people flood her store at once like big box stores might.

She said she’s heard from people the last couple of weeks with a desire to shop and said that the closure hurt her storefront business. Thankfully, she said, she’s usually booked about three months out for custom and consulting jobs, so that aspect of the business was able to continue.

Nelson said she’s not concerned about reopening her store and feels prepared for shoppers. She said employees will not be wearing masks in store.

Katy Baker, owner of Blonde Pineapple in downtown Klamath Falls, said she noticed a lot of shoppers out walking around Main Street on Friday and has heard positive feedback for opening her doors again.

“We’re just happy to be able to see people out shopping again,” she said. “And people are so excited, everybody that comes in is like, ‘We’re so glad that you guys are reopened,’ so it just helps build that confidence that people are excited to be out shopping again.”

She is reopening with limited hours until June to see how busy the store is until then and while she brings staff back.

Baker had been doing curbside pick-up and private shopping toward the end of the shut down, along with sign painting kits that people could pick up and paint at home with video tutorials.

Baker said she felt that hit to business that she’s sure many other businesses felt, especially as a new business that opened just eight months ago.

“I think everybody was hit hard,” she said. “We just tried to modify what we do to make customers feel comfortable to come down and pick up orders and things like that.”

Baker is also not requiring customers or employees to wear masks in her store, but is following other guidelines with signs outside the store limiting the number of customers inside at once and sanitizing.

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