Local retail stores prepare to re-open under governor's 'phase one'

Starting Monday, retail stores can re-open, but owners must follow strict guidelines, including, customers maintaining a distance of six feet apart and owner only operating at 25 percent capacity.

Katie Hardy is preparing for what she says you might as well call a grand re-opening.

"I had tears of joy in my eyes. I know I did. I think jumping up and down," she said.

She's hungry to get back to business doing what she loves.

"I'm so ready to come back. I'm ready to see those faces that I have grown to know for 13 years," Hardy said.

Hardy owns KT Janes and Occasions, a set of boutiques in South Tampa specializing in stationary and personalized gifts. She's gone more than a month without a single customer stepping inside the store. She's been selling some online, but still feeling a major impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We all wanted that definitive answer of when would this be over and we didn't know so we kept adapting day by day week by week this is working this wasn't working," Hardy said.

What is in the works now is new social distancing guidelines owners like Hardy must put in place when doors open Monday.

For Hardy, re-opening means changes to gift wrapping. All of her employees will now be required to wear gloves when they wrap gifts. It's just one many changes Hardy hopes helps people stay safe.

"If they want to pick up curbside absolutely. I'm happy to do that. If they want a delivery, we'll deliver it. Whatever we can do for ourselves and for them," Hardy said.