After being virtually stopped for more than a month, the West Valley took cautious steps forward last week.
And that’s pretty much the way Gov. Doug Ducey wants it.
Like a lifeguard at a busy pool, Ducey’s message is, “Walk, don’t run.”
Hair cuts were back, at places like Senior’s Barber Shop. And at West Valley shopping areas, including Crossroads at Tolleson and Westgate, people wandered between restaurants and shops over the weekend.
Ducey announced May 12 that his stay-home executive order would end three days later.
“This is not a green light to speed,” he added. “This is a green light to proceed.”
“It is time to move forward with the next steps of Arizona’s economic recovery—while continuing to make health and safety our number one priority,” Ducey said.
Ducey said as long as they practice physical distancing and enhanced sanitation, gyms, spas, swimming pools and movie theaters could reopen.
But many businesses were not yet ready turn on the lights and open the doors.
Goodyear, Avondale and Glendale movie theaters have not opened. And, though some casinos in the state reopened, Desert Diamond Casino West Valley stated on its website it would remain closed through May.
Though most gyms remained closed, Goodyear’s Southwest Valley YMCA reopened its fitness center—“but the pool has not opened yet,” said a staff member who asked not to be identified.
Those looking for “live yoga” also are still waiting. The Wellness Center Yoga and Therapies near the Goodyear/Avondale border continues to provide yoga classes online.
“Although the stay-at-home order has been lifted for gyms, we are not reopening the studio at this time,” said an announcement on the center’s website. “We will reopen in stages, with social distancing measures and other safety precautions in place. Our first priority is the well-being of our community.”
Ducey previously approved barbers and salons to open May 8 and in-restaurant dining would be permitted as of May 11.
The Wellness Center’s neighbor Senior’s Barber Shop jumped to open May 8.
“It’s doing all right,” said Yolanda Paiz, owner of the Goodyear/Avondale barber shop.
“The first days we opened were pretty busy,” she said. After that, “We’re almost back to regular.”
Paiz said barbers are wearing masks, which the customers don’t seem to mind.
“They’re very happy, very content with us being back,” she said.
At Romano’s Macaroni Grill, just north of Interstate 10 on North Litchfield Road, regulars had to wait an extra week to eat in the restaurant.
Like many other West Valley restaurants, Romano’s stayed open from mid-March through early May for takeout and delivery, but with a greatly reduced staff. Romano’s planned to start dine-in service Wednesday, May 19.
“We have all the social distancing ready—tables spread out, seating at every other table. And employees are going to have to be wearing masks,” said Luke Unrein, manager of the restaurant.
“We need to show people walking in the door we’re doing our part to make them feel comfortable,” he added.
Unrein said he is hearing from patrons who can hardly wait.
“They’re excited about it. They’re wanting to come back and get the craving foods they’re used to,” he said.
“We have a lot of employees who have been here a long time and regulars that love coming here because of the people.”
Unrein also looks forward to bringing staff back to help.
“All the restaurants that are staying open are in survival mode, they’re running just with the salaried managers,” he said. “We’ve been showing up at 8 in the morning, leaving at 11 at night. That’s what we have to do to keep the restaurant open. That’s the fight we’re fighting.”