SAN ANGELO — For about six weeks, San Angelo retail businesses were closed and could only offer online shopping.
These businesses are family-owned and operated and trying to rebuild after the pandemic.
Betty Strain, owner of the Sassy Fox Boutique, said they closed March 17 and didn't open back up until the lockdown order was lifted May 1.
"There hasn't been any business besides online orders," Strain said. "We started doing videos of the clothes we have, and it has really taken off for us, but it has been hard."
Strain said they open the stores for customers on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m-4 p.m. or if they are in the store and see that someone wants to come in and shop.
There is not yet a date for the boutique to fully reopen.
The boutique is located at 34 E. Concho Ave., in the heart of downtown San Angelo.
"We are in a tourist part of town, and there are so many people coming in from all of the infected areas," Strain said. "It's kind of scary."
Strain said they are using safety precautions such as cleaning counters and doors and wearing masks. The employees watch to see what customers touch so they can clean it once they leave.
They are also sanitizing clothes after people try them on by putting 300-degree steam on them or leaving them out for 24-36 hours and using ultraviolet sanitizer.
"We really don't know what to do, so we are trying to be as safe as possible," Strain said. "It feels normal in here, though. Abnormal outside, but normal inside the store."
Employees are required to wear masks, and customers can if they wish.
"If they see us with ours on, they will pull one out of their purse or something and put it on," Strain said. "People are being very careful as well."
Another boutique in town is operating in a similar manner.
The Roost Boutique, 3560 Knickerbocker Road, has been closed since March 17 and opened at 25% capacity May 1.
The store's occupancy is about 10 people at the quarter percentage, but they are only allowing five at a time.
"We usually have that many people or less anyways, so it hasn't been a huge issue," owner Abby Long said.
The boutique is offering online shopping with curbside pickup or delivery.
"There were good things but lots of hard things, too, that we went through," Long said. "Every day seemed like there were different rules and regulations coming in."
Long said they are taking certain measures to ensure the safety of customers such as sanitizing stations, and constantly cleaning the store and items touched. They aren't requiring customers to wear masks.
The dressing rooms at this boutique are open for specific reasons.
"If someone wants to try something on, we will let them," Long said. "Our fear was that if we didn't let someone try something on, they would take it home and try it on and expose it wherever they go."
Long said if she had to sum the past couple months up in one phrase, it would be: a roller coaster.
"There were so many ups and downs, but then there was a lot of hope with us being able to open back up," Long said. "A lot of good came out of this. We were able to connect with our friends and family in different ways, and we realized we can't take things for granted."
Long said they are always excited to see shoppers, but more ecstatic now than ever.
"We have always been happy to see customers, but now we appreciate it so much more when we get to see their faces," she said.
Myers Drug, which is considered an essential business as a pharmacy, never closed.
The business at 29 S. Chadbourne St., also has a boutique side that was able to remain open.
Manager Luis Urteaga said the business is utilizing social media to offer free delivery and curbside pickup or merchandise.
"The way we approach change is as an opportunity," Urteaga said. "We see opportunities every step of the way, and we were able to adapt very quickly to the needs of our community and staff."
Urteaga said the store's main problem was the work of his staff.
"Our issue was finding what we could do to maintain our people with enough work to keep us going, and we were lucky enough to do that," Urteaga said.