Addressing Anxieties: Locals Share New Business Practices to Ease Patrons’ Concerns

The Winery in Newport Beach; Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Reintegrating into a new version of society can bring uncertainty. Professor Jose Cervantes of Cal State Fullerton’s department of counseling shares some insight. “The anxiety is due to several factors: the still unknown conditions of infection, the worry about the consistency of cleaned public spaces, the distrust of social engagements, the worry about increased infection rates, and the reestablishing of a new … daily routine and work schedule.” Cervantes suggests that reconnecting with friends and seeing familiar faces in reopened public spaces will help with coping.

Restaurants
“My buddy’s company, Super Color Digital, took high-end medical-grade Lexan and it basically looks like plexiglass. We went through all of our dining rooms and looked at the typical areas where these (dividers) would make sense for us. We think it goes a step beyond for the protection of our guests because it really creates a barrier that’s still very aesthetically pleasing. It almost looks like it’s been there since the beginning. What we’re trying to do is just take the initiative and be proactive and go above and beyond so that our guests feel comfortable and confident. The dining experience has changed and changed for good. You can sit, gripe, complain, and not be happy with the guidelines, or you can try to jump the gun. We want to do everything in our power to be one of the restaurants that makes it through during this difficult time.”
JC Clow, founding partner of The Winery in Newport Beach and Tustin

Schools
“We’re committed to teaching essentially all our undergraduate courses remotely. We have developed a program for our graduate students, which involves training remote instruction and best practices, as well as working with faculty to go over and prepare all the courses … in case we have to be remote for winter and spring as well. We’re opening up the dorms at a much lower density—only singles and (modified) doubles. We have significant plans about what to do if students end up testing positive in terms of isolation spaces and protocols around that. We’ve created the Anteater Agreement for students to help them understand what will be expected to come back to campus. One of the things we’re really hoping to do since we’re in Southern California is leverage our huge central park and other outdoor spaces. We’ve also already opened our research labs utilizing strict protocols to conform with public health requirements.”
Michael B. Dennin, vice provost for teaching and learning and dean of the undergraduate division at UC Irvine

Stores
“We have two roll doors that you can drive through. Most people come in a car and they’re welcome to get out and shop. There’s usually not more than a couple people in the store at a time. … We’re happy to help people through their window as well. … The staff wears masks and we sanitize the store regularly. I haven’t enforced that customers can’t come in without a mask, but we absolutely prefer it.”
Deborah Talanian, co-owner of Eastside Mini-Mart

Gyms
“We have 6 feet of distance between the bikes. We take the staff’s temperatures, they’ll be in gloves, a mask, and a face shield. … The instructor will stay on the podium. … There’s touchless check-in, wipes, and we’re asking you not to bring in your belongings. We won’t be renting shoes and you need to bring your own towel.”
Marisa Wayne, president and co-owner of GritCycle

Amusement Parks
“We’re taking a multipronged approach to our reopening … At (Disney) parks in California and Florida, this includes reducing capacity; temperature checks for guests prior to entering; increasing cleaning, especially in high-traffic areas; adjusting experiences to accommodate physical distancing; requiring face coverings for guests 2 and older; and empowering our guests with options like contactless payments and easy access to handwashing and hand sanitizer locations.”
Pamela Hymel, Disney Parks chief medical officer

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