With the state’s announcement of its first coronavirus cases having been identified, everyone from schools to local businesses is trying to figure out how they should move forward.

“I think that now that something has happened, people will definitely take their own personal actions and make their own decisions on what they’re going to do,” said Pam Powers-Smith, president of the Opelika Chamber of Commerce.

Big-box retailers like Target have released statements to the public addressing how they plan to handle daily operations and customer service. In addition to devoting more time to cleaning the store, check lanes and self-checkout touchscreens will be cleaned every 30 minutes.

“As demand for cleaning products, medicine, pantry stock-up items and more remains high, we’re sending more products to our stores as quickly as possible,” CEO Brian Cornell said, noting that the stores recently started limiting how many of these items customers can purchase at a time.

Cosmetics stores like Ulta have begun implementing additional cleaning and sanitization procedures at their stores as well.

“For any guest wanting to use a tester or trial a product, please ask an associate to assist you,” CEO Mary Dillon said.

The store will temporarily stop offering makeup, skin, brow, waxing and skin services.

Although hair services will still be available, it is strongly advised that if customers don’t feel well, that they should reschedule their appointment.

Because there are now confirmed cases of the virus in Alabama, Powers-Smith thinks, unfortunately, residents won’t be out in the city as usual. However, she also believes we need to be “very cautious about taking care of our small businesses.”

Having seen different recommendations for what small businesses can do during this time, she notes that food delivery options should be utilized, as well as purchasing gift cards for local stores.

“I’ve heard several recommendations for people to buy gift cards from our businesses and use them at a later date,” Powers-Smith said. “I thought that was a genius idea, because that’s going to pump money into a business that needs cash flow.”

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