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Buffalo-area small business owners cheered by possible earlier reopening

They are confronting the COVID-19 challenges of protecting their employees and customers through various preparation plans for pandemic safety measures.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — For the small business owners along Buffalo's Hertel Avenue and elsewhere, the word spread that we are edging even closer to the region's phased reopening.

And now they are confronting the COVID-19 challenges of protecting their employees and customers.

Jordan Pursel tells 2 On Your Side she has spent over a $1,000 on personal protection gear and supplies for her hair salon on Hertel, and she has her required operating plan in mind for the next two weeks or so.

But there are some twists she is pondering.

"I'm worried about cutting with gloves on, but if I have to do it I will. Obviously my hands will be sanitized, but that will be difficult," Pursel said. "I think that's the only thing that will really be difficult.

"Every single person in this salon will always have a mask on. Sanitized. There will be 15-minute intervals between appointments. There will be nobody in the waiting area. They'll be text messaged to come in when we're ready for them."

Pursel also hired the Disinfect-It firm to give her business a deep clean.

Co-owner Brian Weinberg says of course they're busy with their spray-on sanitizing technique for surfaces and general interiors.

"What we're doing is essentially putting a fine mist on everything around," he said. "It needs to sit on the surface for a one-minute time just with that product that we use, and after that everything including COVID-19 is wiped out.

"Especially with these mom-and-pop companies, we can really help them open back up. We've been doing everything we can to make it affordable to them."

With social distancing in mind, a local landscaper feels he has adapted a better barrier to better safeguard his en-route employees in his company vehicles. They have been allowed to do maintenance work like mowing lawns, but now they are also able to do some additional mulching, topsoil, and planting work.

Rich Marinucci of Williamsville explains his business dilemma this way.

"Any other industry where you've got groups of individuals going from one site to another, because we're in very close proximity in the truck. In order for us to be able to work, we need some measure of separation in the cab, so I just thought of the Plexiglas."

And then some business owners like Jordan Pursel who feel they have one more duty for their loyal customers who they hope to welcome back soon.

"People are going to be coming here anxious and not knowing what to expect, and our job ... it's not just hair ... it's really to make people feel better, and that's really, like, our message," she said.

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