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City of Mt. Juliet, businesses prepare for reopening

The City of Mt. Juliet is conducting a phased approach in line with Gov. Bill Lee’s guidelines on reopening businesses during ongoing concerns of coronavirus. This includes restaurants and retail and commercial businesses opening at half capacity with employees being screened daily for symptoms and required to wear face masks.

City playgrounds, basketball and volleyball courts remain closed to adhere to proper physical distancing guidelines. Tennis and pickleball courts are open. Salons, bars, gyms and fitness centers, and entertainment venues will continue to remains closed. No routine or elective procedures are allowed at healthcare and dental facilities at this time.

A statement released by the City of Mt. Juliet said different aspects of government will slowly ramp back up, in phases, to full operation while continuing to practice proper physical distancing. Other city government activities and work processes that allow for proper physical distancing, use of face coverings, and barriers will go back to full operation.

“The phased reopening is an important process to opening up our community again,” said City Manager Kenny Martin. “Just like our federal and state partners, we want to ensure we are responsible in this process. Following the CDC guidelines on face masks, physical distancing, and disinfection is key to a successful reopening.”

The statement also said that on Monday, May 4, 2020, all city departments will be back at full operation. Work areas for staff members, who have close contact with community members, have been adjusted to ensure there is extra barrier protection. Staff members will undergo symptom and temperature screening before work, and disinfection will  be a constant process. Any city government meeting or activity will operate under strict physical distancing protocols.

Many businesses in the community are either already slowly reopening or preparing to do so whenever state guidelines allow.

Restaurants were allowed to open to half capacity on April 27, and many have taken advantage of this. Some are choosing to limit business to curbside pickup, such as Painturo’s in Mt. Juliet. Painturo’s, which has been closed for over a month, reopened April 28. It will be curbside pickup only because they want to ensure the health and safety of customers and employees.

“Our decision to remain closed the past five weeks was because we felt it was our responsibility to do our part in flattening the curve,” Painturuo’s said on its Facebook page.  “As we reopen in this new and unprecedented fashion, we ask for your patience and cooperation.”

Retail businesses, such as Ramona and Co. and The Basement Marketplace, are reopening this week, with limited customer capacity in the businesses. Due to the public nature of commercial and retail business, they will be mindful of and increase cleanliness. Many small businesses are still encouraging curbside pickup. Some are also getting creative in their business practice during this time, such as AR Workshop which is offering DIY-to-go for delivery and curbside pickup before they reopen May 8.

Businesses, such as hair and nail salons, are not included as part of Gov. Lee’s Phase 1 reopening, but they are still preparing to reopen safely and with additional guidelines for customers.

At Salon Galleria, stylists will only work on one client at a time. Clients must come alone and stay in their car until their stylist calls them when they are ready. Stylists will wear masks, and clients are recommended to do the same. Out of an abundance of caution, they will not work on anyone who has a cough, even if it’s allergies.

In other salons that don’t have separate suites, such as Capella’s, they are working to limit available seating before reopening. Stations are moved farther apart and dividers have been put in place.

Dental and healthcare facilities are not open for routine and elective procedures at this time. However, they are also preparing for the time when they can open for patients.

“Going to the dentist is going to look much different when dental offices are allowed to reopen,” said Dr. Darren Foster. “Southeastern Dental is concerned about the health of our employees and the health of our patients.”

The waiting room will not be open for a while; instead, patients will call the office to let them know when they arrive. Only patients will be allowed to enter the building, unless the patient is a minor. Their temperature will be taken before any appointment.

“The dental industry has already been doing many things to protect everyone for many years,” he said. “We use many disposable items. That way there is no possible way for cross-contamination. We disinfect all surfaces in the treatment room in between every patient.  All our instruments are sterilized and wrapped for every patient. We have our sterilization equipment checked every week to make sure it is functioning correctly. A dental office has been a very clean place for many years and going into the future it will only become even more of a clean and sterile environment.”

“As our community begins the calculated re-opening process of local businesses it is incumbent upon each of us to be mindful of our surroundings, each other and ourselves,” said Mark Hinesley, president of the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce. “I want to encourage everyone to follow proper sanitation guidelines, to socially distance as requested, and to support those businesses working so hard to get back to serving their customers.”

The City of Mt. Juliet will monitor the phased reopening process and guidelines from local health officials. As new information is received or conditions improve, restrictions will be evaluated.

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