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Phase Two reopening plan gets mixed reactions

'The social distancing is what makes my business run or fall'
PBC Phase Two.JPG
Posted at 4:31 PM, Sep 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-07 17:32:48-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — On Tuesday, Palm Beach County enters an incremental Phase Two reopening plan. The move means entertainment venues can reopen and some businesses can now operate at full capacity. But there’s mixed reaction from some business owners who say they lack the space to benefit from the move.

Three days a week, 81-year-old Carolyn Jaffee doesn’t come for excuses but results at PYC: Pilates and Yoga Center in Boynton Beach.

“I’ve got muscles instead of flab,” said Jaffe. “There’s so much big corporation in fitness, so it’s nice to support small businesses and see them succeed.”

Jaffee’s trimmed up, just like the center’s “cautious” client base.

”About 70-percent of the clients are gone,” said Cristina Holtz, Pilates and Yoga Center teacher. “Some clients feel brave enough to return and some haven’t for a number of reasons. I have people who told me they’re not going to take any classes anywhere until next year.”

In fact, Christian and Holly Andronicescu previously operated their company, both a yoga and pilates studio within two separate spaces. In late July they moved both services into one facility.

“Operationally it wasn’t making any sense,” said Christian Andronicescu.

Christian said due to Phase One restrictions, revenue decreased, the number of classes dropped and staff left along with attendance.

So there’s mixed reaction about the incremental Phase Two the first step allows gyms and fitness centers, museums and libraries, and in-store retail to operate at full capacity with appropriate physical distancing.

”Even if we can go to capacity we still can’t go any more than we already are social distancing, so we’re still half capacity because of that,” said Holly.

PYC said the step doesn’t benefit smaller centers like there’s with limited space.

“We’re an equipment-based business - basically the social distancing is what makes my business run or fall,” Christian said.

For restaurants and food establishments the incremental Phase Two: Step 1 means while indoor seating remains at 50%, outdoors can operate at full capacity with appropriate physical distancing.

”We’re excited about that. It’s a step,” said Shaun Zitani, Subculture Coffee operations manager.

Subculture Coffee is taking full advantage of Clematis Street's outdoor spacing options. And the business is already seeing foot traffic increase.

”Volume-wise on Saturday and Sunday we’ve had about a 25 % increase,” said Zitani. “But we’ll see. We want to take things slowly. People are still being cautious with Coronavirus. Obviously we want to prepare for a small incremental increase in sales.”

The incremental Phase Two: Step 1 also means movie theaters can operate at 50% seating capacity and playhouses at 33% seating capacity.

More on Palm Beach County’s Phase Two reopenings can be found here.