Local Businesses Reopen After Lockdown


Jessica Gunther

Epidavros Yoga Center and Day Spa, located at 223 Powell Boulevard.

Jessica Gunther, Staff Writer

 Since March of 2020, local businesses in Multnomah County have had to set new regulations in order to abide by social distancing protocols and to provide a safe environment for customers and employees. Now that they’re beginning to reopen over a year later, it’s important to support these businesses and ease the transition in going back to normal. 

   On May 27th, Multnomah County moved into “lower risk.” Governor Kate Brown’s new metrics, altered in early May due to vaccination rates, allows counties to move into lower risk so long as they have at least 65 percent of people age 16 and over to have at least one dose of the vaccine, as well as a plan to increase vaccination rates among communities of color. 

   Even with the lower risk level, there are several guidelines that every business must follow. 

 “Retail stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, shopping centers and malls will be limited to 75 percent capacity. Curbside pickup is encouraged,” and that “Restaurants, bars and other food establishments may operate indoor dining at 50 percent capacity; Outdoor dining is permitted for a maximum of 300 people,” according to Multnomah County, addressing these new boundaries. 

   Many businesses, such as Foxtrot Vintage, ICandy and Discounts Plus can abide by these guidelines, while others must take slower steps to opening back up. 

   This includes Books Around The Corner, a bookstore located on NE Roberts Avenue. 

   “Due to being approximately 300 square feet we are going to be by appointment only permanently and continue to offer curbside pickup indefinitely as well,” owner Stephanie Rose Csaszar said.

   Some businesses have been open for a while, but have had to set boundaries with their services. This includes Epidavros, a day spa and yoga center located on Powell Boulevard. 

   “We have been open for a few months. I started teaching in person again and it has been great to see people. We face challenges like any other business, just trusting that clients will come back,” yoga teacher Madison Ryder said.

Besides being at limited capacity, there are other measures businesses are taking to provide a safe environment. 

   “We always mop the floors after a class, sanitize touch points, and wipe down surfaces, along with regular cleaning tasks,” Ryder said. “We have required masks to be worn, even during hot yoga which is what I primarily teach. Not an easy thing to do but humans are more resilient than we realize and my students are amazing. Social distancing also takes place and luckily our third street venue can hold about 20 students while also maintaining (a) comfortable distance.” 

   During the lockdown, these businesses, as well as many others, had to adjust their services and explore new technology in order to remain open. 

   “We utilized social media, Instagram especially, significantly more, and continued to offer our book clubs remotely through Zoom,” Csaszar said. “We did pre order campaigns, email orders, mystery bundles, and curbside pickup. We have an incredible core customer base that we are so grateful for and that helped us survive. We looked at sales very closely and transformed our bookshop from general to genre specific. Now we only carry science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and horror for all ages. We also still do special orders at no additional cost which helped.”

      During times like these, local businesses require support from consumers and clients. There are several ways to help, such as returning as a customer and trying new things with the services they offer. 

   “Please just stop by,” Ryder said. ”The boutique is open during the day and then we have yoga classes at night. Never done yoga? Great! Your first class is free and we have a student discount for drop in classes.”

   “Please continue to order and preorder through our independent bookshop rather than shopping online for books, (and) use our shipping website if [you] need to have books delivered anywhere in the United States. Tell friends and family about us!” Csaszar said.

   Until things return to normal, everyone should come together as a community and do their best to support each other. 

   “I can’t speak to the stress of owning a business during the pandemic but the adaptability of my boss and other owners is really inspiring and I think everyone should take a moment and be proud of what they have been able to do,” Ryder said.