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As phase 2 begins, many businesses face hurdles to reopen

(KTUU)
Published: May. 11, 2020 at 10:07 PM AKDT
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Phase 2 of reopening Alaska’s economy has begun, but in Downtown Anchorage, not every business with the option to open their doors has chosen to do so. Amanda Moser, executive director of the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Ltd, said that some of them are finalizing plans or waiting to get the proper equipment.

“As businesses thing about opening up, they want to make sure that they are able to provide their employees, their guests, with all the recommended equipment,” she said.

But for other businesses, under current restrictions, reopening simply isn’t worth the cost.

“So if it’s a small bar in the downtown area, they might not have a big enough location to be able to get a crowd in there that’s able to support the location being open,” Moser said.

But many businesses, like the Second Run clothing store are opening their doors. Summer is fast approaching, and that’s an important time of year downtown.

“It’s definitely our biggest time of year,” said Second Run’s owner, Jaylene Colombie. “We do about double, in the Summer per month, than in the Winter time.”

But with reduced tourism from the pandemic, Summer is likely to look a little different this year.

“Downtown sees thousands of guests every year as part of the cruise passengers that come through, or just out of state guests,” Moser said. “So as we have less cruise ships, and we have less of those out-of-state guests, we will definitely feel the impact at our business.”

But even with tourism down, Moser and Colombie said they’re hopeful that Alaskans will step up, at least partially, to fill the gap as the state continues to open.

“I think the phase 2 kind of brought people a bit more comfortable coming out,” Colombie said. “And it makes us feel more comfortable, so it’s definitely getting busier.”

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