Henrico businesses prepare to reopen under ‘Phase Two’ guidelines

Henrico businesses prepare to reopen under ‘Phase Two’ guidelines

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Starting Friday, most of Virginia will move into ‘Phase Two’ of the reopening process during the COVID-19 pandemic and businesses are preparing for those new guidelines.

Here’s what that means:

  • Restaurants will be able to open for indoor seating at 50% capacity
  • Social gatherings can now include up to 50 people rather than just ten
  • Gyms can allow indoor workouts and classes at 30% capacity
  • Certain recreation and entertainment venues, like pools, can open with restrictions

While Richmond and Northern Virginia will remain in ‘Phase One’ until Governor Ralph Northam allows them to move forward, businesses in Henrico are getting ready for their customers!

"See how big she's got?” said Roberto Gallina to a customer. “Oh yeah!" the customer responded.

While one-and-a-half-year-old Valentina Gallina may not understand what is going on right now as she runs around the restaurant, her family’s business has certainly felt the impacts from COVID-19.

"It's been rough, it's been tough," said Gallina.

For nearly three months Roberto Italian Restaurant off Williamsburg Road has only been doing take out since it does not have outdoor seating.

Come Friday though, Gallina will welcome customers back inside at 50% capacity.

“We’re going to do every other table, keep the distance,” Gallina said. “We’re going to sanitize and have masks for the host and the customers, and gloves. We’re going to take all precautions as possible.”

But reopening for customers indoors comes with a challenge for the business.

"It's also the issue we've got to build up a new team,” he said. “We lost a lot of employees."

Gallina said they need about 15 more employees to accommodate the number of diners in their busy restaurant.

"We've got a very good reputation and I want to thank all the customers for all the support and the community,” he said. “If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here today."

Meanwhile, businesses that help you work off that delicious food, like gyms and fitness studios, will also be able to reopen for indoor workouts at 30% capacity under ‘Phase Two’.

“We’ve made stations, so we’ll have smaller class sizes, less class times, longer times between classes so we can implement all our cleaning procedures,” said Robin Moncol, co-owner of Pure Barre in Short Pump.

The Pure Barre Short Pump location has invested in equipment to ensure members stay safe and healthy as they return to their daily exercise routine.

“We have touchless hand sanitizers, touchless trashcans, touchless soap dispensers and paper towels,” Moncol said.

The fitness studio is also using another type of sanitation effort for its members.

"They are an antimicrobial film which supposedly kills 99.9% of germs on contact,” Moncol said. “Obviously we do our daily clean, but they will stay on the bar so it's a nice visual and a nice comfort for people to put their hands on and know it's a clean space."

The last few months have not been easy for the staff at Pure Barre either. Instructors moved classes online and froze membership fees during this tough time.

“I think the comfort for us is our community has stayed engaged, stayed active with us as much as they could,” Moncol said. “We’ve lost a few members, of course, and not to be in operation for two months has certainly been challenging, but we’re going to rebuild and regrow. We just stay positive and try to look at the light at the end of the tunnel.”

For those members who decide to take part in in-person classes, they will be required to wear a mask upon entering the business, but Moncol said they don’t have to wear one while working out.

For more information on ‘Phase Two’ guidelines, click here.

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