Businesses resume slowly, cautiously after eased shelter-in-place orders

New normal for businesses reopening after eased shelter-in-place order
Allied Dentistry in San Pablo plans to reopen beyond emergency services on May 29. (Photo credit: Mike Kinney)

By Mike Kinney

Following Bay Area health order revisions on May 4 allowing preventative care in addition to emergency care, local dental offices are slowly reopening with the aim of meeting the challenges of new social distancing protocols.

This week, Dr. Birender Sandhu of Allied Dentistry in San Pablo told the Standard his office plans to reopen beyond emergency services on May 29. Hilltop Family Dental in Richmond remains open just once a week for emergencies. Meanwhile, San Pablo Dental Care is back offering preventative care, but a staff member noted “business has been very slow.”

“Our schedule is full, but we had to minimize our service from two dentists and two dental hygienists to one dentist and one dental hygienist,” the staffer said.

The May 4 health order eased some restrictions on certain businesses, not just for dental offices but also childcare establishments, outdoor businesses like landscapers and gardeners and car washes. All say they’re slowly and carefully transitioning into a new normal of operation.

Under the revised order, real estate agents are resuming in-person showings of homes, but with restrictions. Last week, Roger Grubbs, owner of Roger Grubbs Homes-Security Pacific Real Estate in Richmond, told us business was very slow upon reopening.

“You can’t show a house until it has been disinfected and you can only show a home to two people at a time,” Grubbs said. “It is going to take years for the real estate industry to recover.”

Dago Garcia told us his Richmond-based landscaping company, D. Garcia Landscaping-Gardening, reopened “far behind” in his normal work but was “catching up quickly.” While he had to stop all landscaping during the quarantine, a majority of his customers have supported his business.

“We are taking it one day at a time, step by step,” Garcia said.

Also eased in the May 4 order is childcare operations, which are allowed to take on children of parents allowed to return to work. Last week, Toni Boyd of Happy Tots Childcare in Richmond said she had four children out of her normal 14.

“The kids are really glad to be back here,” Boyd said, adding, “It is really great to be back at work.”

Boyd said the greatest challenge was implementing social distancing among children, but noted overall operations have been smooth.

All construction following health guidelines have been allowed to resume. In the days following the revised order, Richmond-based C. Overaa Construction Company said over a dozen jobs were awaiting reopening, but the company is prepared.

“We have distributed masks, shields and other PPE along with Clorox wipes to help in our preventative measures,” staff said, adding the business is sending out fewer workers on jobs to promote social distancing.

“Everybody here is doing their part to keep the workplace safe,” the company’s staff said.