Businesses adjust to limit contact with customers

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While many Minnesotans are finding themselves out of work, other professions want to make sure you know they’re still there if you need them.

These businesses include those who do service repair work in homes and food delivery companies.

"It’d be pretty hard to have to cease work altogether," said Ryan, who works at BWS Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

Typically, when Ryan gets called to a home, it’s for something very important, and Thursday it was installing a new toilet.

"I think it would kind of drive me crazy if I wasn’t able to be out servicing and helping people and doing my job," Ryan said.

The team at BWS Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning is well aware of the impact the coronavirus is having on the economy.

"It’s been kind of a whirlwind of a week, like everyone, it’s been a lot of uncertainty," said Kevin Strandberg, with BWS.

Strandberg said he understands why some customers have questions at a time like this.

"If you have concerns about someone coming into your house, voice those concerns when you call in, we’re here to make you comfortable and make you safe," Strandberg said.

That’s why the company implemented new policies — including no handshaking, added disinfecting wipes, suspending signatures at the end of the visit and asking whether someone inside the home is sick.

"I know there has been a couple of our technicians that have had to shy away from homes because the folks inside were immunocompromised," Ryan said.

BWS said they even ordered thousands of rubber gloves just to protect the employees and customers during these services.

"We’re kind of trying to just play defense on this thing," Strandberg said.

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While these home visits will operate a little differently for now, Strandberg is confident they’ll continue to be there when you need them most.

"We’re kind of one of those essential industries, people need heating and they need running water so for the foreseeable future I don’t see a shutdown happening in our industry," Strandberg said.

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At the Davanni’s off Grand and Cleveland avenues in St. Paul, the dine-in option is closed.

"There’s always different things we have to adapt to, this is probably more than we’ve ever had to adapt to before," said Jenny Peters, with Davanni’s.

Davanni’s is one of many restaurants in Minnesota allowing limited access to the public. It’s something Jenny Peters admits has slowed down sales a bit, but thankfully they’re still open.

"It’s kind of eerie to have all the businesses that are shut down," Peters said.

While take-out service is still open, delivery drivers are taking precautions before arriving with food at your home.

"We have tamper-evident seals on all our to-go orders and then we’re putting on gloves at the time of handoff," Peters said.

For this first time, the location is also offering curbside pickup while limiting contact with customers.

"It’s crucial because we want you to feel good about the product that you’re getting from us, and you’ve given us trust over the years and we want to maintain that trust," Peters said.

Delivery services like GrubHub are committing to "contact-free delivery" at checkout, and they’re even creating a "donate the change" fund to help support drivers and restaurants impacted by the outbreak.

"The community has really come out and supported us and we really appreciate it," Peters said.

No one knows how long this will last, but if pizza makes life feel a little more normal, then employees like the ones at Davanni’s want to keep their doors open.

"We’ll be here for you to serve you as long as we can," Peters said.