Hello and here we go. Welcome back!

But how exactly do we begin again after these 15 months of hidden faces and fearful public breaths? That’s what we’ve been asking ourselves at Joe Van Gogh for the past month, as Covid cases fell and vaccinations increased and open doors beckoned.

And here’s what we decided – slowly, step by step, grateful but on guard.

We will open our stores and welcome customers back inside, beginning this week.

But we insist on playing it safe. Our staff will continue to work masked, and we ask – please – that our customers do the same when ordering at the counter. With teen hospitalizations on the rise, despite decreasing virus cases and increasing vaccination percentages nationwide, we insist on a conservative approach. We still don’t know enough about the limits of vaccination immunity or the potential for virus mutations to act like these past 15 months never happened. We can’t ignore that coronavirus is still spreading uncontrolled in other parts of the world.

We ask your cooperation while we wait and see. A cup of coffee isn’t worth one more case of coronavirus for anyone.

We will spread tables out and keep total occupancy limited in our stores.  We will be glad to see you, and we will feel a little bit more like ourselves with folks sipping and snacking and looking at their laptops across the room. But we will remain on guard, and we will hope for slow steps forward and no steps back.

And maybe, hopefully, COVID cases will continue to decline, science will continue to inform, and we will feel more and more normal as we move into the hottest days of the year.

Finally, and importantly, because we recognize that some of you may not be comfortable coming inside to order and also that some of you may not want to wear a mask at all, we will continue to offer online ordering and contactless pickup. Please don’t hesitate to go (Chapel Hill & Durham) or (Raleigh) place your order, should that be more convenient.

Again, welcome back!

We look forward to a new normal. Let’s treat each other by the Golden Rule – as we would like others to treat us. For us that means with kindness, with care and with everyone’s health in mind.

Happy Summer!

Robbie Roberts, Joe Van Gogh