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Reopening St. Louis: Scenes from the region's first day back in business

Traffic was slow for some businesses, but others encountered steady streams of customers
Credit: SLBJ
On the Delmar Loop, an employee cleans a surface inside thrift store Avalon Exchange.

ST. LOUIS — The doctor wanted a haircut. The mother-in-law wanted a gift. The retiree just wanted to be around people again.

All three were part of a thaw that began Monday in the St. Louis region’s Covid-19 lockdown. On May 18, people across St. Louis County and the city ventured out to eat, shop and socialize as part of the region’s first phase of reopening.

Traffic was slow for some businesses, but others encountered steady streams of customers.

“We are so grateful, because we didn’t know what to expect,” said Tara Meschede, manager of clothing store Altar’d State at the St. Louis Galleria. Meschede said that even with social distancing and 25% capacity requirements, business was about the same as on a typical Monday before the pandemic.

“With a phase one reopening and most of the stores in the mall not even open, that’s fantastic,” she said.

It was the same story at Favazza’s on the Hill. At about 6 p.m., owner John Favazza said reservations had been coming in all day.

“We feel almost normal, so that’s good,” he said.

Across the region, people ventured out for different reasons. Joseph Givance went to the Clayton driver licensing office to renew his expired driver’s license. Mark Craig needed a new suit, so he visited his brother’s shop on Delmar. John Cullen went to the Galleria just to walk around. 

“I miss being around other people,” he said. Before the pandemic, he had walked around the mall about once a month. He usually perused the Apple and Microsoft stores. With those closed, he was content to just stroll and observe the people, occasionally striking up a conversation from behind his mask.

“We’re made to interact with other people,” he said.

Credit: SLBJ
Joseph Givance waits in line to renew his driver's license.
Credit: SLBJ
Inside the store, Edward Hopkins examines a shirt.
Credit: SLBJ
Nick Pickersgill, a urologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, gets a trim from Will King at Shack's Barber Shop in downtown St. Louis.

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