Marion, Polk counties ease into reopening

Marion County

The counties must remain in Phase 1 for at least 3 weeks

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) —  Marion and Polk counties will begin the process of reopening some businesses along with other changes on Friday.

When both Marion and Polk counties initially applied for Phase 1 about a week ago, they were denied. Since then, they’ve been working to make some improvements.

Brown OKs Marion, Polk counties for Phase 1 reopening

For example, Marion County officials say they have since added 20 contact tracers. Plus, we’re told they are working on plans to make sure farm workers are tested. They will also provide 15,000 masks to local businesses to hand out once they reopen.

Now that they have ramped up contact tracing efforts and testing — they can begin to reopen like most of the counties in Oregon.

“One of the things we said is we worked really hard to get open and now we have to work really hard to stay open,” said Colm Willis, Marion County Commissioner Chair. “It’s a relief for a lot of our small businesses. Our family-owned restaurants and hair salons, hair dressers —a lot of folks—independent contractors, haven’t seen a paycheck in a couple of months.”

Starting Friday, several types of businesses and services including restaurants, bars, gyms and malls can begin to open once again. But, they will still need to follow some new protocol, like physical distancing, sanitation, face coverings — and crowd control.

One Salem gym, Epic Fitness, is getting ready to open — but they are not quite ready just yet. They plan on opening on Tuesday and when they open things will look a little bit different. You will see signs like this posted throughout the gym.”

At epic fitness signs are up and they have the cleaning supplies ready.  

“I am excited Ive been getting facebook messages and emails asking when we are opening,” said General Manager Michele Vanderyacht.

Although the gym can reopen Friday – Vanderyacht is making sure everything is ready.

“By going through all the guidelines we are finalizing Epic’s rules of what they need to do.”

As part of part of entering phase 1, gyms, salons and restaurants need to follow some protocols like physical distancing, crowd control and sanitization.

“The last thing I want is to get shut down because somebody said someone else wasn’t following the rules,” said Vanderyacht. “We really need to follow the rules so we can stay open.”

She is limiting the number of people inside and there will be no yoga mats or showers.

“We cannot provide sweat towels to the members, we are going to ask them to bring their own and each one will get their own cleaning towel.”

Even though Epic Fitness is taking a slower approach, Salem restaurants are opening and people are booking appointments to get their much needed hair cuts. But while many might be ready to come back to the salons or gym, some are speaking out against reopening.

“There’ve also been emails saying I’m not ready yet and I totally respect that and we will keep their accounts frozen,” said Vanderyacht.

She is excited to see her members back on Tuesday.

“Its family… we missed that and we missed our family.”

Epic fitness will be adjusting their hours and there will be a specific time for those who are more vulnerable to work out.

The counties must remain in Phase 1 for at least three weeks before they can move on to Phase 2.

Stay with KOIN 6 throughout the day for continuing coverage on Oregon’s road to reopening.

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