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More businesses reopen in Citrus Heights, as hair cuts, retail given OK

Rella Moore, owner of Aspire Hair Design, answers the phone to book an appointment on the first day of reopening, following two months of closure due to COVID-19 shutdowns. // Mike Hazlip

Updated May 29, 10:14 a.m.–
By Mike Hazlip– Signs of a return to normal for local businesses are beginning to emerge in Citrus Heights. 

The city announced Tuesday that more local businesses can resume operations, as Sacramento County moves further into Stage 2 of California’s Resilience Roadmap. Barbershops, hair salons, smaller religious services, retail stores and malls were given the green light by county officials to resume service to the public, effective 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

Rella Moore, owner of Aspire Hair Design on Sunrise Boulevard, told The Sentinel in an interview Wednesday that her customers are coming back for haircuts. Her salon has a total of 12 stations, but only half are being used in order to maintain the state’s guidelines on distancing. 

Moore said her first day in business was May 27. Since coronavirus shutdowns began in mid-March, she’s been surviving on personal savings to pay rent. She estimates $30-45,000 in revenue were lost.

Each stylist is an independent contractor at Aspire, and Moore expects they will return as business resumes. 

“We’re excited that we’re open, and we’re ready to go,” she said. 

Sunrise MarketPlace, a business district made up of more than 400 businesses in the Sunrise-Greenback corridor, is taking steps to help businesses reopen and is providing masks and signage. Sunrise Mall, located in the district, has announced it will reopen at 11 a.m. Friday for in-person shopping.

Shoe and apparel company Bearpaw, headquartered in Citrus Heights, hasn’t felt the pinch as much. John Richey, general counsel for the company, told The Sentinel on Wednesday that Bearpaw was able to move staff to tele-working in March, a day before shelter-in-place orders were issued. 

Richey said Bearpaw has seen an increase in online sales, which has kept employees busy. The company has had some scheduled layoffs, but not as a result of the pandemic, he said.

“We love Citrus Heights, we’re still here and we’re still working,” Richey said. “Our parking lot may be empty, but we’re still going.”

State and local health officials also allowed restaurants to resume serving dine-in customers, beginning last Friday.

While some eateries have yet to reopen, local restaurant Texas Roadhouse scrambled to open as soon as health officials allowed it to happen.  

“We didn’t know we were opening until two days before,” said Manager Curtis Gaines. “It’s kind of a task to get things in order.”

Gaines said the parking lot was turned into a drive-thru, using cones to direct traffic for pick up orders, during the time the restaurant was closed. He said tables for indoor seating are now kept farther apart, for social distancing. The restaurant is looking into using plexiglass to separate tables once they begin working at full capacity.

“We’re very grateful for our employees, without them we wouldn’t be able to serve the community, wouldn’t be able to stay afloat,” Gaines said, adding he’s seen an “uptick in regulars coming in several times, just to help keep us afloat.”

The restaurant is in the process of hiring more employees, with three candidates waiting for interviews at the time The Sentinel was at the location. Although there have been challenges, Gaines said he sees an upside.

“It’s been an experience, but through the silver lining, you see a little bit of camaraderie, a little bit of community — a lot of community — it’s been wonderful in that aspect,” Gaines said. “Seeing that dynamic is pretty great.”

California has yet to enter Stage 3 of the four-stage “Resilience Roadmap.” California began moving into Stage 2 earlier this month. Stage 3 will phase in higher-risk workplaces such as gyms and movie theaters. Stage 4 will mark the end of stay-at-home orders.

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