Shutdown by COVID-19, Scott County entities ready and excited to open

Shutdown by COVID-19, Scott County entities ready and excited to open

Before the question was asked, Dave Posten blurted out his answer.

"I'm ready,'' Posten said before being asked if he was looking forward to opening his four Iowa-based Cost Cutters hair salons on Friday. Posten, of Davenport, owns the shops at at 2925 18th St., Bettendorf; 3876 Elmore Ave., Davenport; 1724 W. Locust St., Davenport; and 3301 W. Kimberly Road, Davenport. All four will be ready for a 9 a.m. openings.

After hearing the news, Gunchies owner Eric Ludtke decided to shutdown his eatery/bar today (Thursday) and Friday to prep for a big Saturday, while Dave Carstens cannot wait for Saturday, when he will once again see some smiling, ready-to-train faces at his Eldridge-based Ego Eimi Gym.

And, after weeks of darkness, the TBK Bank Sports Complex will reopen this Saturday.

On Wednesday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation declaring salons, barbershops, and massage and tattoo establishments may reopen throughout Iowa at 50% capacity, with appropriate public health measures in place.

Restaurants (but not bars), fitness centers, libraries, and race tracks can reopen in the 22 counties where they have remained closed, including Scott, Muscatine and Louisa, respectively. These changes are effective at 5 a.m. Friday. The proclamation continues the other ongoing closures and public health measures, including the prohibition on social, community, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people, until 11:59 p.m. May 27.

"Throughout this down time, we have been purchasing as much sanitizing and disinfecting product as we can from our Regis supplier,'' said Posten. "Our staff understands that sanitizing is meant to reduce, not kill, the occurrence and growth of bacteria, but disinfecting is done to kill organisms. We will do both.''

Posten said he will follow all mandated safety guidelines and use an appointment-only system. All costumers will have have hand sanitizer available to them.

"Seventy-five percent of the training that goes into working in this field centers around keeping things disinfected,'' Posten said. "In addition to what we have been working on, our staff watched seven additional videos of sanitizing and disinfecting, just to make sure we can be as safe as possible. We are ready to go forward.''

On the financial side, Posten is just happy to have a chance to get staffers back to work.

"The bills did not stop,'' he said. "It's good to have a chance to get back.''

At 8 a.m Saturday, the Eldridge-based Ego Eimi gym will host its first group class in nearly two months. Carstens, who works full-time for Environmark, says the gym, like always, will meet all necessary safety guidelines, including the wiping down of benches, racks, mats and bags. Ego Eimi will limit all group sizes to 10.

"Deep cleaning is what I do for a living,'' said Carstens. "Every bag, bar, surface, rack, mat and the floor gets a deep clean. It's always been a priority. Making this safe for the people who want to be here has to be the first step.''

Grateful to be able to assist others with their fitness goals, Carstens said it's been a roller-coaster 18 months since the gym opened.

"A year ago, the most brutal winter in forever,'' he said. "Then we get some traction and some great footing in a wonderful community. So we see the light at the end of the tunnel and then this happens. Our landlord is wonderful in that he worked with us and reduced rent since all this happened. We didn't qualify for any (government) assistance, so there was nothing coming in. It's been a struggle, but it's time to push ahead.''

Ludtke, the longtime owner of Gunchies, said closing Thursday and Friday gives him and the Gunchies' staff an opportunity to prep for what Saturday will bring.

"One final, deep clean,'' Ludtke said, noting business is down 45% in the past two months of offering take-out only. "Whether we serve breakfast Friday is still up in the air, but we will be ready to meet all the guidelines for dining. We put in a new floor, painted and did some other interior things during the down time, but now we have a chance to safely get going. Carry out only gave me a chance to see people, to deliver meals at the curb, but it's time to get going. I have a great staff and this is wonderful news for them.''

Pushing toward and opening means some important safety steps for the staff at TBK.

Including:

Limiting the number of athletes who can play or practice on courts and fields. 

Enforcing proper spacing of all equipment, continuing stringent sanitation on all machines and equipment, and temporary suspension of group fitness classes at it's level II Fitness Center.

“We have missed all the activity we usually have inside and out of our building, and we look forward to safely welcoming everyone back,” said Dave Stow, CEO of the complex.

Columnist John Marx can be reached at 309 757 8388 or jmarx@qconline.com

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