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Some Santa Fe businesses reopen, adjust to new normal as restrictions eased

May 1, 2020

For some Santa Fe shops, business is back, but it’s not back to normal.

And it might not be for some time.

Andrew Imrie, owner of Zoomies Dog Daycare and Resort, said his small shop on Camino de los Marquez opened Friday for the first time since March 23. Zoomies handles day care, boarding and grooming — now, all by appointment.

“We’re doing curbside services; no people are coming into the facility,” he said.

Imrie said he was able to keep a full staff, but he acknowledged the six-week shutdown was painful.

 “It wasn’t pleasant, but we had some money saved up,” he said.

On Friday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham eased limitations imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. She gave some retailers the go-ahead to open curbside pickup and delivery services if permitted by their business license; gun stores could open for appointments only; veterinarians and other pet services were allowed to operate; and golf courses could welcome back those eager to return to the links.

But indoor malls, gyms, salons, theaters, casinos, and dine-in restaurants and bars remain closed. Gatherings of five or more people are still banned until May 15, according to the amended health order.

Among the more controversial aspects of the public health order was the closure of gun stores, which prompted the National Rifle Association and a group of firearms-related businesses and advocacy organizations to file a federal lawsuit against the governor. The director of New Mexico’s NRA chapter called the allowance for gun shops to operate via appointment “a first step.”

It was more than that for Bill Roney, owner of the firearms retailer The Outdoorsman of Santa Fe. He said Friday it felt good to be back in business.

“Any activity is an uptick from nothing, so we’ve seen an uptick,” Roney said.

He said the shop, located in DeVargas Center, is able to operate due to the back entrance offering an alternate avenue for customers as malls remain closed. He said the shop is setting appointments Monday through Saturday. The store can accommodate about three people every half-hour.

Many of the businesses trying to reopen posted requests for customers to wear masks and gloves and to expect curbside service.

Barks & Bubbles dog groomers, a shop just off St. Francis Drive at Calle Anaya, posted its plans to reopen Monday. “We are back and so looking forward to seeing you and yours. Masks and gloves for all, please respect that, and curbside, please have your companions on leash,” the post on Facebook said.

Mark Edwards, the owner of Z Pet Hotel and Spa on Harrison Road said he worked with his smaller staff Friday to put protocols in place, which he said could become standard operating procedure indefinitely.

The closures, he said, hit the business hard; he had to let everyone go except himself, a groomer and his business manager.

Edwards said he wanted to make sure the protocols were “respectably strict,” to protect clients and staff from the coronavirus. He said that means all services will be by appointment, there will be no overlap for people running into the hallway for dog pickup or drop-off and anyone who needs to come inside is required to wear a mask. “I’m anticipating these protocols are going to be in place for a long time. I don’t want to be at risk or put my staff at risk,” he said.

He said another change is all dogs that are boarded will be bathed. “I want everyone to know, handle me like I’m contagious, protect me from you and you from me. That’s how we have to treat this,” Edwards said.

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