Superior Businesses Navigate Operating Safely After First Weekend Open

Douglas County officials urge businesses to follow guidelines, and they may shut them down if they receive complaints.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- It was the first weekend that businesses in Wisconsin were suddenly given the green light to open after the state’s stay at home order was thrown out by the Wisconsin Supreme Court–now business owners in Superior say it’s time to figure out how to open safely.

The jingle of the door opening is a sound not heard at the Shabby Shed in a while.

“I’m going to make a couple more changes but yeah we are, I think we’re ready,” said owner Michelle Wick.

Just like the antiques that are sold there, the store on Tower Avenue is seeing new life now that customers can come in and browse.

“It’s been very valuable,” Wick said. “People need to see, feel and touch and it’s hard to sell a dresser curbside people need to actually be able to come in and open drawers and see how it works.”

The sudden end of the stay at home order has been a relief not only to Wick, but to those who sell their items through her business. “People that consign here, some of the people earn this money to live on, so it isn’t just affecting me as a store owner, it affects the people that consign items here, too,” she said.

Many businesses in Superior haven’t thrown open their doors yet, making those that have appealing to shoppers.

“All my regulars have been in, so it’s been kind of like old home week, a lot of my customers, we haven’t seen them for two months,” said Tom Unterberger.

Unterberger, the owner of Globe News in Downtown, said people are flocking to his store–a mecca of hobbies and interests to keep them busy at home.

“People miss their music, they miss their Magic the Gathering, they miss their sports cards and just miss talking about that kind of stuff, too,” he said.

He thinks it’s about time businesses open, albeit carefully.

“We’re limiting how many people in the store like we’re supposed to, we have shields up and employees wearing gloves,” said Unterberger. “We’re still very cautious. I think it’s a good thing but it has to be regulated.”

But back at Shabby Shed–with so many messages from the county, state, and federal governments–Wick said regulating isn’t always easy.

“There’s so many different voices, it changes daily,” she said. “I do follow what I can follow, make the best decision and sometimes I do more than what is on there and other things that are not in the recommendations.”

Douglas County Health Officials are urging businesses to follow guidelines outlined by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, such as limiting the amount of people inside buildings and asking customers to maintain social distance.

The County adds they will respond to complaints of businesses not following guidelines, and may end up shutting it down if the problem persists. “The order is gone, the Virus is not,” officials said.

Despite the relief that comes with opening back up, Wick said business will always come second to safety. “If we get overcrowded we’ll have people wait outside.”

“I’m just looking out for everybody,” she said.

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