Montgomery Co. businesses eager to enter Phase 2 of re-opening

Enzo Livia, chef and owner at Il Pizzico in Rockville, is excited to open his doors during Phase Two in Montgomery County. (Photo Courtesy Enzo Livia)

For the first time since the pandemic brought sweeping shutdowns in Montgomery County, shops and gyms opened, and restaurants started indoor dining (with some restrictions) when Phase Two began at 5 p.m. Friday.

This now means that Justin McCary, owner of the Shady Grove Strength gym in Gaithersburg, can have indoor classes again.

He says his members are ready.

“They really want to get their hands on a barbell again, and we do as well,” McCary said.

The gym is opening on Monday, he said, and he’s not sure about the county requiring people to wear masks while working out — but he said they’re going to enforce it as long as they have to.

“The thought of that, I’ve got to be honest, is not super-appealing,” he said.

Also now able to open are retailers with a limit of one person per 200 square feet, which is the same capacity limits for gyms.

Caya Cagri, owner of The Cottage Monet gift shop in Rockville Town Square, said that they’re opening at 10 a.m. Saturday and that they’ve installed a clear shield between the cash register and their clients.

They’re trying to embrace it.

“My staff member said maybe we can put lights around it at Christmas. We’re already deciding how to have fun with it,” Cagri said.

While they were closed, Cagri said, she put a chair outside with online orders packaged in bags, and lollipops for customers’ children to try and keep things going.

“We have been engaging as much as we can. It’s not the same as being open, but at least it allowed us to stay focused on what we do, which is serve our community,” Cagri said.

Abby Goldman, store manager at Scout and Molly’s in North Bethesda, says they’re looking forward to having customers back in their space.

“They rely on us to help them with styling and pulling things that we know will work for them and pulling outfits that we know will work for them,” Goldman said.

They are limiting their space to six customers at a time, with every customer required to wear a face mask.

“We’re going to be cautious as far as social distancing and everyone wearing masks, but I know that our customers have been dying to come in and shop for three months now, so we’re really excited to see them in person,” Goldman said.

During Phase Two, restaurants can now start indoor dining at 50% capacity, which is an exciting addition for Enzo Livia, chef and owner at Il Pizzico in Rockville.

“We have to adapt to the new reality and move forward,” Livia said.

He excited that he can open his dining room, because being limited to outdoor dining has been unpredictable.

“Obviously it’s weather permitting, and so when the weather comes we have to shut it down,” Livia said. 

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