Some laundromats remain open as essential businesses with enforced changes

NOW: Some laundromats remain open as essential businesses with enforced changes

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) – Laundromats are deemed as an essential service, but while they’re not forced to stay open, some have decided to keep their doors open under new circumstances.

Outside of Riverworks Laundry, you can see the changes they’ve made by the signs they have posted on their windows; no kids, shortened hours of operation, and overall limited public access.

“We’re here for the community to make sure they can wash the germs off their clothes,” says manager of Riverworks Laundry, Shaunta Gibbs.

While Riverworks is still open with reduced hours, they’re strictly enforcing several rules.

“Five customers at a time, social distancing, wiping constantly, encouraging the customers if they’re sick, not to come,” says Gibbs.

Rather than wait inside for their clothes, customers have been waiting in their cars. Gibbs will then notify them when their washers and dryers are done.

Following the governor’s order to ban gatherings of ten people or more, some laundromats decided to close completely, limiting options to the community.

“I’m a nurse,” says Amalie Hansen. “It’s great to be able to go and do my laundry when I need to. I try to separate my scrubs from my clothes to be able to try to prevent the spread of things.”

Bayview Maytag laundromat has also chosen to stay open with plenty of cleaning and reduced hours.

“My hat goes off to him [the owner] and everybody who keeps on going because they’re doing a huge service to all of us,” says Bayview customer Andy Lowey.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to do that,” says Steven St. Marie, owner of Bayview Maytag laundromat. “Out of all the businesses on KK, I’m the only one who’s still open. I’ll be open as long as I can.”

“Part of the disinfecting is cleaning your laundry,” says Gibbs. “You can’t disinfect your house with a pile of dirty laundry in the corner.”

While some businesses have opted not to accept dollar bills and coins, laundromats don’t quite have that option. Riverworks and Bayview laundromats say they’re constantly cleaning and disinfecting their coin slots as well.

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