Md. businesses open to limited customers as coronavirus restrictions are relaxed

maryland business
The Vine on Main in Sykesville, Maryland, opened to limited customers on Friday. (Courtesy The Vine on Main)
The Muse in Frederick, Maryland, will be reopening to limited customers on Saturday. (Courtesy The Muse)
Ec’clectibles gift shop in Frederick will have a soft opening on Saturday, where customers will have to make an appointment or wait outside for a time to go in. (Courtesy Ec'clectibles)
The Curious Iguana bookstore in Frederick, Maryland, will be open for curbside pickup and window-shopping on Saturday. (Courtesy the Curious Iguana)
maryland business
The Vine on Main in Sykesville, Maryland, opened to limited customers on Friday. (Courtesy The Vine on Main)

On Friday, some areas of Maryland began to relax coronavirus restrictions after nearly two months, but with limitations.

Ridia Dearie had people calling her immediately after Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement saying some businesses could reopen after lifting the stay-at-home order for the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve got loyal customers and they’re the first ones in,” Dearie said.

Her shop, The Vine on Main in Sykesville, opened Friday evening for outside wine- drinking on the patio. They are allowing five people into the store at a time to buy wine, beer and gifts and are also offering snowballs and wine slushies.

She said it’s been difficult not having customers in her store.

“It’s been hard because I’m a people person,” Dearie said.

In Frederick, Sumner Crenshaw, artist and owner of The Muse, which sells handmade gifts, needed a little more time.

She is opening her store on Saturday at 11 a.m.

“I’m excited to see our customers and be able to help them and just get back to a new, hopefully healthier, normal,” Crenshaw said.

No cash, hand-sanitizing for every customer who enters and face masks for everyone over the age of two are some of the changes that shoppers will see when entering The Muse.

“We are requesting that customers not touch our card reader, so we’ll be touching the buttons when we take payments. We also are requesting a limit of 10 customers in the store,” Crenshaw said.

Paul Thompson, owner of Ec’clectibles gift shop also in Frederick, isn’t opening his store for casual browsing just yet.

“We’re not fully prepared for all of the crowd control kind of things,” Thompson said.

He’s starting with appointments and walk-ups looking for specific items on Saturday.

He has the hand-sanitizer stations ready to go.

“It’s been real hard. It’s been a real learning experience, and we’re translating that to sales and coming out of this stronger than before,” Thompson said.

The Curious Iguana bookstore in Frederick is opening for curbside pickup on Saturday at 10 a.m. They will also have a table set up inside the front door.

“Customers can stop by the table to pick up books they’ve ordered, or they can stop by to purchase books in our windows,” said Marlene England, owner of the Curious Iguana.

She said that the windows of the store are filled with new releases and best recommendations for Father’s Day.

Customers can also purchase other books that are in stock.

All staff and customers must wear face masks, and there will be hand sanitizer available for everyone.

And everyone in the store will be asked to maintain social distancing by keeping six feet apart.

“We’ve really missed our customers and hearing what books they’ve been reading and sharing what books we think they might enjoy,” England said.

“Our customers have been incredibly supportive since we closed to the public — ordering books and gift cards online, via email, over the phone, etc. — but it will be very nice to move a little closer to business as usual.”

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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