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SLO drive-in not ready to reopen; fabric stores, churches prepare to resume operations

Posted at 5:28 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 22:58:42-04

A second wave of businesses are working to re-open after the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department gave the 'ok'.

"I mean it is exciting because our business has struggled tremendously," said Alison Verge, Co-Owner of The Cotton Ball.

The Morro Bay fabric store just got the green light to re-open after being closed for about a month.

"People were asking if they could buy stuff to make masks because people were wanting to wear them but you can't buy them anywhere," Verge explained.

She's been offering curbside pick-up.

"And it's been nuts like Wednesdays are just like we have a line outside," Verge said.

She added that sales have increased from the curbside service but she says overall sales have plummeted by about 80%.

The store will now be open 4 days a week from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"There were no details as to what the rules and restrictions are, if there was rules and restrictions so I wasn't really sure what to do," Verge said.

Dr. Penny Borenstein announced Wednesday that fabric stores, houses of worship, drive-in theaters and housekeeping services can open up shop.

"If we can start to open things up in small increments and then continue to watch what the disease is doing as we do these things that's going to be our best approach," Dr. Borenstein said.

"I was excited until I started thinking about it and then when I thought about the bathrooms I go, 'no... this isn't good,'" said Larry Rodkey, Manager and Owner of Sunset Drive-In.

Rodkey says even though they got the go-ahead, they won't be re-opening specifically because the bathrooms will need to be cleaned after each person.

"When you have 4 or 500 people here in one night, how are you going to do that?," Rodkey questioned.

He said they're working on a solution.

"I want to re-open. Believe me. But until it's safe, I don't want to do anything," Rodkey said.

Meantime, houses of worship like churches can hold service in the parking lot but everyone must stay in their cars.

"We had thought about doing that probably a month ago, thinking about a drive- in church concept but we were told that would be out of bounds right now," said Co-Lead Pastor Rick Olmstead of Mountainbrook Church.

Fast forward and this Sunday, Mountainbrook Church will have "Park n' Praise: A Drive-In Worship Experience." Service will begin at 6:30 p.m. Gates will open at 5:45.

"Actually when we wanted to do this before we ordered a device that would allow us to broadcast within 200 feet for cars so it did come in about a week and a half ago so we have the capability to actually broadcast into people's cars," said Pastor Olmstead. "We're really excited about this door opening. We didn't expect it."