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Nevada business owners must make quick decision on reopening

Updated May 8, 2020 - 8:39 am

Nevada business owners have two days to make up their minds whether to reopen Saturday.

Phase One of the state’s so-called reopening begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, following Gov. Steve Sisolak’s Thursday declaration: Restaurants, salons and certain other businesses will be allowed to open at 50 percent capacity and with strict requirements for social distancing and face masks for employees.

The decision to open is an easy call for some.

“Let’s go,” says “Jenny O.”

They were the first words out of Jenny Calleri’s mouth in a Thursday evening phone call, and they were forceful.

Buying jewelry is an emotional process that requires an up-close look at a product, Calleri said. The way she sees it, if she’s allowed to open her Huntington Jewelers store, 7385 W. Sahara Ave., she has to open.

Deciding on the phone, Calleri said she will be open by appointment from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Calleri isn’t concerned about reaching capacity inside her store. Inside, she won’t require her customers to wear face masks, though she will enforce one stipulation for those who do: pull down the mask, stare into the security camera and pull it back up after it’s gotten a good look at the face.

She doesn’t see cleanliness as an issue for her store.

“We’ve sanitized up the wazoo,” Calleri said.

Sisolak’s order to move up Phase One from May 15 to Saturday was a decision welcomed by Vegas Chamber President and CEO Mary Beth Sewald. She said it strikes an appropriate balance between public safety and the economy.

“Phase One is a measured first step toward reviving businesses across Nevada and bringing back much needed jobs,” Sewald said in a prepared statement.

Haircut and a job

It didn’t take long for clients long overdue for a trim, cut or dye to begin calling and texting Henderson-based hair stylist Nicole Morris for an appointment.

“As soon as the governor talked my phone started blowing up,” Morris said.

Morris, a stylist at Level Ten Salon, 2530 St. Rose Parkway, Suite 110, said she’s still planning to be careful and follow social distancing measures as much as she can, and wearing a mask and gloves.

Like Morris, James Reza has been buzzing to get back into the salon business.

Specifically, his Globe Salon businesses at 900 Las Vegas Blvd. South and 1025 S. Rampart Blvd.

As soon as Sisolak OK’d salons to reopen, co-owner Staci Linklater rushed in from another room and said, “We have to open on Saturday.”

And so the husband and wife began preparing. They’re scrambling to fill appointments and plan to be open on Saturday, though with a limited staff.

The salons will operate under the directive of empty chairs separating working chairs from one another, and his employees will follow the face mask rules.

He doesn’t plan to require his customers to wear face masks — in part because it could interfere with haircuts or trims — but he said his salons would respond to customer feedback to determine business practices outside of those mandated.

Reza said he and Linklater began restocking their shelves in anticipation of opening for the May 15 date. Now, it’s real, and it’s coming.

“It’s still kind of a shock to hear ‘Wow, after all this time we get to actually get to be back in the salon,’ ” Reza said. “It’s a great shock to have.”

Decisions, decisions

Not everybody was as sure of their plans.

Bernie Cheater, the owner of Cous Cous Mediterranean Cafe, 450 Fremont St. in Neonopolis, is happy to have the option to open. He just doesn’t know if he will.

Cheater worries his location on Fremont Street, in an unfortunate twist, may hurt his business. About half of his customer base consists of tourists, and with travel restrictions still in place, he’s not sure where his customers would be.

“If the casinos aren’t open, why are the people coming downtown to Fremont?” Cheater asked.

Cheater said he has some serious thinking to do before he decides whether to open up shop.

Cheater, a Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada native, is hampered by travel restrictions and isn’t sure when he can return to Las Vegas.

He could have his manager run the business while he remains at home in Winnipeg, but implementing all the directives, particularly the capacity requirement in his rather small cafe, may be costlier than it’s worth.

Cheater sighed.

“Well, that’s a tough one, eh?”

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Subrina Hudson contributed to this report.

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