Chattanooga retailers take differing approaches to reopening after COVID-19 closings

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Owner Carol Ellis, right, and Chris Rogers hang a window between the register and the retail floor at The Refindery on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn. Following the shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the store is preparing to reopen on Friday, May 1.

The green light is on for retailers to reopen their doors amid the COVID-19 outbreak and Chattanooga businesses are taking steps to re-enter the economy while unsure about what's ahead.

On Wednesday, Hobby Lobby stores in Chattanooga reopened for in-store shopping for the first time since closing several weeks ago amid the pandemic.

Store personnel said they were taking the precautions prescribed by the state and health agencies and business was steady.

At The Refindery on McCallie Avenue, owner Carol Ellis said she plans a Friday reopening of the doors for the antique and vintage goods shop, through she'll continue to offer curbside service.

She's opening just four days a week, Thursday through Sunday, for the time being while The Refindery was typically open seven days in the past.

"Vendors will have a chance to bring in merchandise without customers," Ellis said.