CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Whether it be safety concerns, staffing or additional logistics to be planned, some close contact businesses are looking to stick with socially distant operations while statewide restrictions lessen.
Close contact businesses like gyms, yoga and dance studios were allowed to start opening on Monday.
“In a short answer, we felt very rushed,” Dance Lab Charleston owner Jenny Broe said. “Opening up a dance studio, close contact business in this moment, like, no one‘s done that before. So we’re watching other cities do it and there was just a laundry list of things that needed to get done was vast so I wanted to not rush into it.”
The Dance Lab studio in West Ashley hasn’t seen students in person in nearly two months, but it will be a little longer until nearly 600 dancers can return for classes.
Broe said some of the biggest challenges slowing the reopening process is waiting on proper sanitization materials, marking 10-foot socially distant areas across the studio, and staffing around 30 part-time teachers.
“Rehiring then was number one, making sure they’re available and comfortable about coming in,” Broe said. “Then then number two, you’ve got a whole new approach to your class.”
Broe said to keep dancers aged three to 70 safe, only a dozen students will be able to take an in-person class at a time, forcing increased breaks and price changes to keep the small business alive.
“Restructuring a whole new business and a new business model, repricing all of that it takes time,” Broe said. “We have like a class, a half an hour break to disinfect, a class, a half an hour break to disinfect.”
In the meantime, the studio has moved classes online to stream live or watch, but some families say they’re counting the days to get back into the studio.
“We would have been ready anytime they said go,” Meg Scott Copses, whose daughter has been taking online classes, said. “I think the way they’ve set it up so far looks great taking cleaning breaks and capping classes at 10.”
The studio’s owner says dance will look different, but she hopes to reopen in early June.
“Dance is such a thing that you want to feel off of each other‘s energy and you want to get close to each other,” Broe said. “Even though the officials say it is, we are ready, it’s a huge wall to pull down to get people feeling good.”