(Note to readers: Hart Neely, a son of Steve Neely and the late Carol Neely, formerly of Rutherford County, was interviewed last week by WCOP-TV in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lives with his family and manages the a shop in the downtown area. He was interviewed about re-opening his shop during this time of coronavirus. Hart, who graduated from R-S Central High School, is married to Jen Peterson Neely and they are parents to Harper and Asher. Carol Neely owned/managed one of the first health food stores in the area -- Gracious Goodness that was later Earth Fare, both in Forest City. The story was written by Courtney Francisco and is used here with permission from the television station.)
CINCINNATI -- Over-the-Rhine's Elm & Iron is playing it safe when it comes to reopening.
Manager Hart Neely said the home goods boutique is bringing back furloughed staff slowly amid Gov. Mike DeWine's order to reopen the state's retail stores.
"So we're not jumping the gun, bringing too many people back into the stores and then having to shut down again," Neely said.
Retail businesses officially reopened on Tuesday with some restrictions. Shoppers should have a face mask in case a store requires them.
Cincinnati Premium Outlets is making temperature checks available to customers. The outlet mall is also providing customers masks and sanitizing wipes.
At Kenwood Mall, dozens of clothing, food and interior design spots opened. Each have their own safety policies for shoppers.
Elm & Iron is allowing customers inside its Vine Street shop by appointment only. Like most boutiques in the area, the shop is limiting how many people can be inside and requiring shoppers to wear masks.
"We're wearing masks for the customers," Neely said. "We hope that they would wear masks for us because we really want to protect everybody."
Neely said employees at Elm & Iron are working to simply make sure customers feel comfortable.
"Making sure we're doing it right is going to be the thing that ends up keeping us alive in the long run," Neely said.
Hart thanked everyone on his Facebook post for the outpouring of support of the small business during the tough few weeks through gift cards and online purchases. "Our team is working extremely hard to fulfill orders as they come in and we appreciate your patience as we are creating new ways to shop Elm & Iron through updates to our online platforms," he said.