‘It’s like a grand reopening for us’: Coeur d’Alene stores reopen for business

COEUR d’ALENE, Idaho – As Washington’s stay home order was extended Friday, it was a different scene over the state line. Friday was the first day of Idaho’s Rebound plan.

Retail stores, daycare’s and places of worship opened up with strict guidelines.

Thirty-seven days ago, open signs on Coeur d’Alene businesses were turned off with a whole lot of uncertainty in the air. But now, spring is in the air and the flowers are blooming.

“It’s just nice to be able to get out and enjoy the weather,” Maggie Lantz said, a Coeur d’Alene resident out and about on Sherman Avenue.

It was different Friday, getting to go outside and enjoy the sun because retail stores in Idaho finally opened.

“It’s really nice to be able to walk around without having to worry about it for the first time in about a month and a half,” she said.

It’s a sight many haven’t seen in weeks: people walking down Sherman Avenue shopping.

“Having our first day, it’s like a grand reopening for us,” said Kareen Link, the owner of T Blue Boutique.

It’s a welcome change for small businesses, being closed for weeks and losing revenue.

“The closure and having zero income for a lot of us non-essentials has been difficult to devastating depending on who you are,” Link said.

Link was able to reopen three of her stores in Idaho. She was happy to see people walking around again, greeting others as she walked downtown.

“It’s time. Everyone’s antsy, everyone’s ready,” she said.

Stores are open, welcoming guests but there are little reminders everywhere that we’re still in a pandemic.

Stores offered hand sanitizer and masks for customers. Employees were seen wiping down tables and hangers every so often. There was tape on the floor marking six-feet social distancing rules.

Regardless, people were happy to be in the sun and finally getting to shop again.

Seeing all the cars and people, it felt foreign to Sammi Gibbs, the owner of the Garment District.

“Hopefully we can get back to normal pretty soon. I’m excited for the restaurants and everything else to open too, that’ll be nice. Then, we’ll feel normal again down here,” she said.

Friday was the first of many steps to reopening the state. The Gem State has a ways to go. Phase two is set to begin May 16. That’s when restaurants can open their dining rooms; gyms and other recreational facilities can open as long as there isn’t a significant rise in cases.

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