Each day, Viking Lanes’ staff get their temperatures taken before each shift, clean every bowling ball after use and sanitize the bathrooms every half hour.
These added precautions are the new reality of working, assistant manager Erik Olson told the Hub.
Every business in Stoughton has been impacted by COVID-19 in some form. As Dane County entered Phase 1 of the Forward Dane Plan on May 26, some businesses like Autumn Pearl hair salon and Tabby and Jack’s animal care services were bombarded by clients. Others like Viking Lanes have seen a slow increase in customers — many fearful of falling ill with COVID-19.
According to the Forward Dane plan, restaurants are allowed to open at 25% capacity, though some continue to offer only curbside pick up like Viking Brew Pub, Morales Family Restaurant and El Rio Grande. The plan states that gyms, retail establishments and salons and similar businesses can also open at 25% capacity, though in indoor spaces, seating arrangements must be placed at least six feet apart to ensure physical distancing. In salons, spas and tattoo parlors, customers are advised to wear cloth coverings.
Tabby and Jack’s, a pet supply and grooming store, was considered an essential business during the state’s Safer at Home Order and was allowed to stay open. But most of Tabby and Jack’s business encompasses animal grooming, which was prohibited- — once the grooming was allowed to resume the store started getting constant calls, Joni Verstegen, manager at the Stoughton location told the Hub.
“We are still booking out three weeks...,” she said. “Everyday that a groomer is here, we are completely booked.”
Other establishments like Autumn Pearl experienced a similar rush.
Pete and Katie Herbst, who own the combination hair salon, nail salon, tanning location and coffee shop, called 700 customers before the Forward Dane Plan went into effect because they knew it was going to be busy.
“It was three days worth of calls and we would make calls 6 to 7 hours at a time,” he said.
Only 10 guests are allowed in the establishment at one time, including staff. The tanning booths are still closed, but hair, nail and coffee services are up and running.
Stoughton restaurants, are proceeding with a similar level of caution.
El Rio Grande, posted on its Facebook page it will continue to offer carryout and delivery only. Big Sky Restaurant, decided to open the restaurant for a single table at a time. A family was served there for the first time on May 27 — a four person group celebrating a birthday, according to a Facebook post.
Olson said that his regular customers pop in to say hello, but don’t hang out as long as they used to, which he said is understandable, as people are still being careful. He said although the cleaning and precautionary measures can feel like it is an extra full time duty, it is worth it.
“The last thing we need is to get a customer sick,” he said. “That is the last thing anyone needs.”