Some businesses in Wisconsin reopen for 1st time in over a month: ‘There will be an end to this’

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MADISON -- The new "Safer at Home" order allowed some businesses Wednesday to operate once again. However, they must follow social distancing guidelines.

"My email exploded, I already have six quotes for over $5000 worth of work," said Debra Fabian of Just Chairs Upholstery. "Kind of overwhelming."

From furniture upholstery to dog grooming, certain businesses re-started their operations.

Gregg Pawelski

"It's good to get grooming back in the fold," Gregg Pawelski, owner of Playtime Doggy Daycare, said.

Pawelski's business took a hit once it had to shut down its grooming services; he was only able to keep the dog day care services open for the pets of first responders.

Under the new order, landscaping, car wash, furniture upholstery and dog grooming business were allowed to re-open under the order of following social distancing while operating. Pawelski said his business is embracing "curbside" dog pickup.

"We meet them outside they drop their leash and they go on their way," Pawelski said. "We sanitize leashes and collars."

There are no COVID-19 cases involving pets in Wisconsin, but Pawelski said he is following the ever-changing state guidelines -- keeping pets and their humans safe during these trying times.

Playtime Doggy Daycare

Across town, Fabian says she is keeping her business afloat through social distancing and trusting her clients. She's had a bump in sales since the new guidelines went into effect.

Debra Fabian

"Whenever anyone is coming for pick up, I spray down the fence, I spray down my front door," she said. "The customers would pull up, get the chair and then leave a check in my front entry."

Pawelski said he was able to keep his employees through the Paycheck Protection Program: "We would be in dire straits if it wasn't for those loans."

He's making it a point to support local operations because he knows far too many business owners are struggling amid the pandemic.

Just Chairs Upholstery

"Keep your spirits up stay positive there will be an end to this," said Pawelski.

Outdoor recreational businesses renting out boats, kayaks and other recreational vehicles are also open but must operate free from contact with customers.

Governor Tony Evers

Governor Tony Evers

“This order means that every business across our state can do things like deliveries, mailings, curbside pickup and drop-off, and it’s an important step in making sure that while folks are staying safer at home, they can also continue to support small businesses across our state," Evers said.

Staff must be limited to one person per room or confined space at a time. Payment must be made online or by phone, and drop-offs and pickups must be scheduled ahead of time. Customers are not allowed inside business premises.

Evers described it as a “turn of the dial” to reopen the state, starting with businesses that require limited interaction between customers and employees.

“We are able to do this in a way that’s safe,” he said. “We're headed in the right direction and I'm confident that we will continue to dial it down.”

Hair salons and barbers remain closed because of the necessary close contact between employee and customer, Evers’ legal counsel Ryan Nilsestuen said.

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