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Marion County retailers enter 1st day of reopening at 50% capacity

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Retail stores in Marion County were able to officially reopen at 50% capacity on Friday, but not all of them are.

Many stores are holding off their reopening date for safety concerns. Those that are open say they have some concerns of their own.

At 9 a.m., the lights came on at Leon Tailoring Company. They were ready to start selling clothes and recover from the losses the virus brought them, but in the first couple of hours being open, they didn’t see anyone walk through the door.

“We are worried that things are going to be slow — and let’s face it — we still have payroll, we still have our normal operating expenses — whether it be heat or light or air conditioning and taxes and everything else that has to be paid,” partner Larry Ettinger said. “We just pray to God that people will come in and see us again and shop with us again.”

Ettinger says the lack of customers may be because people are still nervous to go shopping if they don’t need to. But retailers as big as the Fashion Mall at Keystone and as small as Leon Tailoring need to start getting revenue somehow and don’t know what to expect. Both places of business are opening up and hoping the stores don’t stay as empty as they were Friday morning.

“Every time you have to close up for anything, you always worry about what happens when you have to reopen,” Ettinger said. “But in my lifetime, I have never experienced anything like that.”

And even for lifetimes before, Leon Tailoring hasn’t seen something like this. The store is family owned and was passed down from generation to generation without ever being shut down. Now, they’re hoping that the store can continue for generations to come, but they and countless other local stores will need help from the community.

“We’re doing OK. Well, we will find out now that we’ve reopened,” Ettinger said. “We’ll see who comes in the door. But we have had several calls and several people calling, wishing to make appointments. So, as a result, at least somebody knows we’re still in business and somebody still wants us, of course.”

Places like Leon Tailoring don’t want to discard safety just to get customers. Many shops are requiring customers to wear some type of mask, practicing social distancing and providing hand sanitizer. 

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