If Saturday in the Quad-Cities were a movie, Hollywood might title it “They Came From Across the River.”
Newly reopened salons and restaurants in the Iowa Quad-Cities welcomed customers from Illinois who joined in the reopening weekend Saturday for haircuts, hamburgers and more Saturday.
Scott County businesses took another toward reopening after Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds further eased restrictions for their operation after partial or complete shutdowns in March to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
In the meantime,protesters rallied in Chicago and Springfield for Gov. J. B. Pritzker to roll back his stay-at-home order.
Vehicles with Illinois license plates had a strong presence in parking lots,
Danielle Henry of Milan sat on a bench outside Bella Salon and Bello Barber, Davenport, while the process for her hair highlights continued.
A Ruhl Mortgage underwriter, Henry said the last time she had been to a salon was right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“I’ve been stuck in my basement the last two months underwriting loans,” she said.
Before Henry’s appointment, she signed a document stating, among other agreements, she had not been around anyone ill and had no symptoms. of illness After a staff member took her temperature, she was asked to wash her hands.
Clients and staff members wore face coverings.
“It’s our new normal,” said owner Katherine Newberry cut hair for Levi Dunn-Reicks, of Davenport, while both wore masks.
Early on Saturday, pancake houses were a top choice for visitors.
"We’ve had an amazing response,” Newberry said. “Customers are so excited to be here. We had one guy who came in yesterday and he said he didn’t come out of his house, but as soon as salons and barbershops were open, eh was getting his hair cut. And that’s the only thing he cared about.”
Longtime customer Levi Dunn-Reicks said it felt amazing to be back in the salon. “A week ago, we got an email saying what would be expected of us when we came in, and what the salon would be doing to ensure our safety as well as theirs.”
All the measures gave him peace of mind, he said.
Newberry had more than 100 customers Friday and Saturday.
Stylist Kelly Possamai, of Port Byron, self-quarantined and let her customers know. “I took a ton of precautions,” she said. “I wanted my guests to feel safe.”
Newberry took calls from regular clients first. At one point, so many calls poured in – many from Illinois – staff no longer could answer the phone, she said.
At Jimmy’s Pancake House, Bettendorf, waiter Lisa English scrambled to answer calls, help customers arriving in vehicles and those who stood outside perusing menus.
Anthony Corley and Larry Westbrook, both of Moline, had heard about the good home-cooked meals.
Westbrook was a little nervous because he left his mask at home, and was glad to see English wearing hers.
The two looked at menus while they waited patiently outside for their carryout breakfast.
English, between phone calls and arriving customers, said Jimmy’s will open for seated dining on Monday. The staff has been moving tables to distance customers while continuing delivery and carryout.
Many other Quad-Citians continue to abstain from visiting businesses or visit with precautions. Judy Winslow, of Davenport, pulled into the Freight House Farmers Market, Davenport, saw the crowd, and went home.
Winslow's husband has health issues, so she wants to keep him safe from COVID-19 exposure.
“I pulled in there, and there were families and all kinds of people. There were lines at the tents,” she said. “People were one right behind the other, not wearing masks, just like it was a year ago.” A few people at the market – maybe one in 20, she estimates – wore masks, she said.
As for visiting restaurants, she plans to wait to see whether the COVID-19 numbers climb.
“I don’t’ care if they’ve opened up,” Winslow said. “I’m not going to sit in a restaurant now.”
Winslow does have a hair appointment Thursday at Suzanne & Co. Salon, Davenport. “I have to wear a mask and call when I’m in the parking lot and they’ll come out and get me.”
Similarly, Cathy Bolkcom, Davenport, says it’s too soon for her to venture out. “I will not be visiting stores or restaurants,” she said. “The decision to reopen was not based on any metrics or measures or a 14-day steady decline in the numbers of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths.”
“There is no reason to believe that this is the right time to reopen - much as we all want to return to normal life,” she said.
She plans to wait until COVID-19 numbers drop significantly before she ventures out. “It is not worth the risk to me to endanger my health, or to unwittingly endanger the health of people I love or the workers in the businesses that are being reopened.," she said.
“I have continued to go to stores but wear a mask, use sanitizer and only go when the crowd is low,” said Kim Riley, of Bettendorf. “It will be a while before I go to a sit-down dinner at a restaurant although it’s one of my favorite things to do.”
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