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PROGRESS MAY 2020: Orangeburg businesses ‘glad to see our customers’

PROGRESS MAY 2020: Orangeburg businesses ‘glad to see our customers’

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Coronavirus Barber Shop

GBarber Bobby Thomas cuts Sid Kirkendahf's hair at Diane’s Barber Shop in Orangeburg in May 2020.

Salons, barbershops and gyms reopened across Orangeburg in May.

While some welcomed the reopening as a step toward normalcy, others said it was too soon.

St. Matthews resident Joe Starnes was at Diane's Barber Shop near the Orangeburg Mall for a haircut about four hours after it opened.

"I think it is a good idea," Starnes said. "I think they are taking great measures to try to keep people safe."

Diane's Barber Shop was among the many close-contact businesses that were shut down in March as the coronavirus pandemic began. They were allowed to reopen in May.

"We are glad to see our customers," barber shop owner Diane Clarke said. "We have not seen them in what it seems like forever. It has been a couple of months."

Clarke said the business takes precautions such as requiring customers to wear a mask, frequent sanitation of chairs and the use of disposal capes.

"It has been hard," Clarke said about the closure. "The rent goes on and the light bill. All those bills go on."

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Orangeburg Mayor Michael Butler lifted the city's curfew in May after a month.

Some did not feel comfortable about reopening close-contact businesses and still feared indoor dining.

"It is too soon," Audrey Mahaffey said. "There is not enough testing. There is no way to have any kind of accountability."

For Orangeburg's Sun Keepers Tanning and Salon, the opening was welcome.

Manager Jennifer Livingston said the closures were rough.

"We have missed our customers and we miss everyone we worked with. We are definitely glad to be back,” she said.

"It is time to get back to normal, in a sense," she said. “It is a good feeling to be back."

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