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Retail business owners and employees are excited that they can begin a controlled re-opening this week. But not included in the governor’s business green light are restaurants, barber and beauty shops and fitness centers.

Studio H and Honors Salon in Shelby County, Melt Restaurant in Avondale, and the brand-new Redefine Fitness in Homewood are all anxious to reopen their doors. While none are opened yet, even with closed doors, Birmingham’s business owners are trying to look on the bright side.

“As difficult as the times have been, there have been so many silver linings,” said Harriet Despinakis, who owns Melt Restaurant. “We’ve only been working our managers and owners in the past six weeks and it has been a team-building that we could not have even planned.”

Personal trainer Wes Walker had hoped to have his new gym open and busy by now. This delay has allowed him to get his gym exactly the way he wants it and he knows that his clients, who care very much about fitness and good health, will not have to be lectured about safety.

“I believe my clients are biting at the bit to already get in so I know once the doors are open, it’s going to be a mad dash to get back into the fitness,” Walker said.

With all that’s going on during the pandemic, is getting a haircut all that important? While some may consider something as trivial as a trim a necessity, it’s certainly important to the person cutting the hair who’s just trying to make a living for their family.

“Of course, because this is their livelihood, this is what they do all the time, this is their sole means of employment, their money coming in, period,” said Tammy Partee, salon manager at Studio H and Honors salon.

The chairs are empty at Studio H Salon, and at Melt, they’re stacked neatly on top of the tables waiting for customers to return. The staffs are the only ones filling the establishments with life, and the businesses are counting the days until reopening is permitted. Despinakis thought it might be a bit longer.

“I did, I really felt it would take a couple more weeks, I think,” she said. “We weren’t going to open if [Ivey] gave us the green light; we’re thinking more mid-May, mid- to late-May is kind of what we’ve told our staff to prepare for.”

Walker keeps working, with time to think and plan and look forward to opening the gym that he believes is the people’s gym.

“To tell you the truth, patience and just trusting God, it’s His timing,” Walker said. “Like I tell my clients that are biting at the bit to get in, I’m just saying, ‘Hey, this is not my gym, I’m just the janitor. I’m just somebody doing whatever the timing allows and the government allows me to do and just roll with the punches.’”

These are just three among thousands of establishments in Alabama ready and willing to do business again.

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