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Eau Claire businesses create their own COVID-19 precautions

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Eau Claire County continues to turn the dial and allow businesses to have some more leeway in their day-to-day operations, but some business owners are taking safety precautions into their own hands.

Lisa Aspenson, the owner of several Eau Claire restaurants, has made safety her top priority since COVID-19 came to the area.

"COVID-19 isn't going away, so our restrictions aren't going to lessen," said Aspenson.

She's had in-person dining at Mona Lisa's for the last four weeks, and now different parties have to sit six feet apart, and tables are limited to six people.

Aspenson also requires masks to be worn at all her restaurants when folks get up from the table.

"We let people know they have to wear a mask when they make a reservation," said Aspenson. "Some people choose not to come in, and that's their choice. Those are the people frankly that we don't want to come in because we don't know where they've been."

Limited capacity and mask requirements are also seen at The Broom and Crow. There only five people are allowed in the store at once after they sanitize their hands.

"When they come in to shop, I encourage people to look but not touch to the best of their abilities," said Broom and Crow owner Tabatha Voss.

Voss said she's had a few customers upset with the rules, but she'd rather keep her store's visitors comfortable.

"I feel safer, but mostly I want them to feel safe," said Voss. "Because I want people who shop with me to know that I'm being proactive and thinking about them, you know, and not just about myself."

Ramone's Ice Cream Parlor just changed their work flow in recent days. Customers now order at the door and get served on the shop's back patio to limit contact with employees. On rainy days, customers are served inside, but need to wear a mask.

Owner Blayne Midthun said everyone's safety is more important than patronage.

"If I thought about it from a financial standpoint, I mean, heck yeah. Let's have people come in and let's crowd the place," said Midthun. "But to us, we have more of an obligation to the people that we serve than what we see in our pockets."

Midthun also said his customers' willingness to comply means everything to his staff.

"It gives me a sense of faith in other people that they're taking it seriously," he added.

All three businesses also offer curbside and delivery options for customers trying to social distance.

Mary Pautsch

Mary came to News 18 in July 2019 from Sioux City, Iowa where she graduated from Morningside College with a BA in Spanish after attending Iowa State University for 3 years.

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