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COVID-closed businesses reopen

By Staff | May 15, 2020

Bars, restaurants and personal care salons reopened for business in Rugby after a March 20 executive order by Gov. Doug Burgum canceled or strictly limited services offered to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Restaurants and bars resumed table service after being restricted to pickup and delivery only during the period.

Rugby’s bars all reported they were open for business. Some restaurants cut hours of business as smaller numbers of customers returned to their dining rooms.

Stacey Schmaltz of the Coffee Cottage in Rugby said her mother, restaurant owner Candace Hornstein, had decided to close the business altogether during the time onsite dining was restricted.

When restrictions lifted May 1, the Coffee Cottage opened its dining room and cut its hours of operation to 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., back from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Schmaltz described the first day back in business as “mediocre.”

“Today’s been a little less than that,” she noted ruefully.

Describing the process the restaurant uses to comply with state guidelines, Schmaltz said, “We sanitize the menus after they’ve been touched, we sanitize the bathrooms multiple times daily, we sanitize the door handles.”

“We (limit guests) to 50 percent capacity, we seat them in every other booth,” she added. “We haven’t had to open up any other rooms yet besides this one. It hasn’t filled up yet.”

Two older men in baseball-style caps sat in one booth, deep in conversation as they ate breakfast. The rest of the dining room sat empty as Schmaltz talked.

Schmaltz said the Coffee Cottage still features familiar menu items such as pies baked from scratch and sandwiches. “Everything’s available,” she noted. “The only thing we haven’t brought out is the crab salad.”

“We’re only doing one soup a day. The salad bar isn’t open right now. You can’t do salad bars,” Schmaltz said.

Three employees have returned to the restaurant, Schmaltz noted. “We haven’t brought back all of our employees yet.

“We’re hoping to bring all of our employees back by June 1,” she added.

Schmaltz said she hoped business would pick up as time went on and she hoped for a boost during tourist season.

However, she added, “I’m doubtful. I think this is going to affect us for quite awhile.”

“Our pies haven’t been going the way they always have,” Schmaltz said. “We don’t have the pie crowd in the afternoon. I hope they come back.”

Two hair salons in Rugby told the Tribune business was brisk.

“It’s been very busy,” said Jodie Kirchofner of Stylin’ You Salon via Facebook.

Leah Harper of La Bella Vita Salon agreed.

“Things so far are going great,” Harper said via Facebook message. “Our guests have been so thankful and appreciative of us calling and getting them scheduled.”

“Everyone has been very patient and understanding of the longer wait times to get an appointment too, which is helpful. And those who have had the opportunity to get in the salon already feel so much better when they leave. People are also adjusting well to the new changes and that makes it easier for us. My staff along with myself are happy to be back and we love seeing all our clients again,” Harper wrote.

The longer wait times Harper referenced resulted from state guidelines calling for increased physical distancing and sanitizing processes.

Magnolia Wellness and Detox Spa posted business hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. by appointment on social media and advised customers to call ahead to shop to limit customers to 10 at a time.

Other Rugby businesses reopening include Fashion and Flair Outlet and Main Street Boutique.

Both stores reported returning to their regular business hours.

“We’re also open by appointment, if people are more comfortable with that,” said Ashley Berg at Main Street Boutique. “I’m thinking people are ready to come back.”

In a social media post, Fashion and Flair Outlet advertised specials to draw customers back to its store. The store also urged community members to support small businesses. “We need you. Now more than ever!” the post read. “Thank you for choosing to support small business!”

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