Town businesses’ May 1 phase 1: back-to-work, services expand

Many Farragut business owners, which include personal care and fitness facilities, are excited they are part of a “Phase 1” re-opening Friday, May 1, and now have set guidelines to follow.

“We are so excited to be opening Friday,” said Kimberly Garrison, who owns two Elite Suites Salon Studios, one of which is located at 10536 Kingston Pike, near Farragut, and the other at 7600 Kingston Pike in West Town Mall. “We cannot wait.”

The restricted re-opening “certainly has a huge impact on our business, for sure,” she said. “All of our service providers are excited to get back.

“... We’re going to make sure that all of our staff, as well as our clients, have masks on throughout their entire service,” Garrison added.

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs and Knox County Health Department director Dr. Martha Buchanan unveiled a plan for a three-phase re-opening of the county’s businesses — with at least 28 days between phases — following a press conference in the City/County Building in Knoxville Monday, April 27.

“For business, it’s been desperately needed,” said Matt Beeler, owner of Big Kahuna Wings, 12828 Kingston Pike. “A lot of people have had to furlough, and obviously with sales being way down, it’s been very tough to survive as a small, independent business.

“The opening is calling for half capacity, so we’ll start there, and we’ll obviously seat tables so that each table has at least the 6-foot distancing from the others,” he added.

However, Beeler noted his concerns over the 28 days mandated for the second and third phases.

“I don’t think there’s any issue with the 28 days this first phase, but I think they’re going way overboard doing it 28 days past that,” he said.

“My hope is that if (the virus) goes away, they’ll be a little bit more lenient … even Nashville is doing 14 days.”

Still, “Being a full-service restaurant and having the dining room available, even at half the capacity, allows us to get more toward what our business was before (only offering) take-out,” Beeler said. “More importantly, it will allow us to bring back the staff members who, unfortunately, haven’t been able to work.”

“I’m especially glad that they released this phased plan together, to avoid the confusion that has occurred for some of our businesses while we’ve navigated this constantly evolving challenge these past weeks,” Farragut West Knox Chamber of Commerce president/CEO Julie Blaylock stated in an April 27 e-mail.

“The plan appears to be a good balance of measured caution, while also allowing businesses to start getting back to work.”

However, Jessica Mishu, owner of Blue Ridge Yoga, 623 N. Campbell Station Road, plans to hold off opening her business.

“We just want to make sure my students are safe because it is all about them,” she said. “We just want to make sure we create an atmosphere where they feel safe.”

When she does open, Mishu plans to limit the number of students in classes and the number of classes, and will continue its online classes.

Retail businesses also were given the go-ahead to open.

“I think the mayor is doing the best that he can for everybody in this situation that we’re in,” said Beth Hooks, manager of Farragut’s Elliott’s Boots, Shoes, Sandals, 706 N. Campbell Station Road. “I know people are anxious to go back to work, and I hope it works the best for everybody.”

Elliott’s was able to stay open during the shut-downs because it was designated an essential business since it supplies footwear to medical personnel and other workers.

Candace Viox, owner of Water Into Wine bistro & lounge, 607 N. Campbell Station Road, said, “I can’t wait to air-hug my community. My staff and I will be making sure that we’ve got all of our checklist done.”

She invited Farragut Mayor Ron Williams to visit her restaurant Thursday, April 30, to see what she and her staff have done to comply with the plan.

“We are opening Friday, May 1, at 3 o’clock, and we will still be doing some curbside to go because we are only operating at 50 percent capacity,” Viox added.

“We will spend the next few days, working on all the regulations and requirements and making sure we have all of the recommended procedures and sanitation supplies in place and training our staff,” Garrison said. Along with other measures, she noted,