Beginning May 1, businesses now have the option of allowing walk-in customers as long as they stay under a 25% cap in store capacity set by state regulators.
“As businesses in Fort Worth start to reopen, it’s important that we understand where they are now,” said Robert Sturns, the director of economic development for the city of Fort Worth. “Some businesses have been pretty creative in working to maintain operations; some might still be closed; and some might be in transition or somewhere in between.”
As the owner of a small, locally owned business, Rick Rice, the manager of Soccer Post on Main Street in Keller, said the goal is to be able to take care of customers in the surrounding area.
The store is focused on simplicity of service, he said, and is only allowing one or two patrons in at a time.
“We are keeping a distance and asking customers who come in and out to sanitize,” he said, pointing to a bottle of hand sanitizer near the front door. “Products that get touched are also sanitized.”
A poll conducted by The University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Tribune showed 77% of registered Texas voters support requiring residents to stay at home except for essential activities.
In the same poll, 66% of Texans supported suspending the operation of businesses determined to be nonessential.
“Either way, business operations will be impacted, and their employees will be affected,” Sturns said. “We’re trying to determine where some of those stress points are so we know where we should focus our efforts.”
Classified as an essential business, Coral Fish and Beyond in Keller has been operating with increased precautions since March, owner John Duncan said.
The store is classified as essential because it provides pet food and other necessary products for pet health. The store is also adhering to 25% capacity requirements, he said.
“We’re just being very careful when customers come in, but they still have to feed their fish,” Duncan said. “I just can’t wait for this whole mess to be over.”
For many retailers, including Sophia’s Gowns in Keller, May 1 was the first day they were able to be open in more than a month, owner Kellie Simmons said.
The store is keeping walk-in traffic to a minimum and has shifted the majority of its business to appointments, she said. The number of additional guests has been limited for bridal shoppers, and the store has increased sanitization efforts using disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer.
“We still have a lot brides that are getting married,” Simmons said.