Coronavirus: Calgary businesses prepare customers for new way of shopping upon reopening

Many Calgary businesses are getting ready to reopen on Thursday after being closed for almost two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After spending the last few months shopping online, many people searching for a new outfit will be looking forward to the old fashioned joy of trying on clothing, but for the owner of Bamboo Ballroom, that will present the biggest challenge.

Stacey Selley said upon reopening, changing rooms will need to be cleaned after every use, and clothes that are tried on can’t go directly back on the rack.

“We are going to put them into a bin for 24 hours, after that 24 hours we will then take it back out and re-steam it and put it back on the rack for the next customer,” Selley said.

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Selley added that the number of people allowed in the store at one time will be limited, and customers will be encouraged to wear masks while shopping.

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“It’s going to be a totally different shopping experience,” Selley said.

In preparation for reopening, the staff at Domaine Furnishings and Design are also setting up new shopping protocols, including the implementation of hand-sanitizing stations.

Director of design and sales for the store, Emily Sissons, said she wants all customers to feel comfortable while shopping amid the pandemic, and that includes touching the furniture.

“There are no restrictions on what they can touch and sit on,” she said. “We are a very tactile, touchy-feely kind of place. People want to sit on things and touch the furniture and the product.

“So we really just encourage people to please sanitize when they come in.”

While businesses are adjusting the way they operate to safely reopen amid the pandemic, the owner of Owl’s Nest Books is wondering if the province’s relaunch date has come too soon.

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“We are uncertain like everyone about whether this is the right time yet, but our customers are very anxious to try and come in,” Susan Hare said.

Hare said that online delivery and pick-up has been booming at the store, she attributes the sales to libraries being closed and people having more time to read amid the outbreak.

She added that sales Owl’s Nest Books are only down only eight per cent compared to last year.

When the store opens next Tuesday, shoppers will have the choice of wearing gloves or using hand sanitizer before browsing — a procedure Hare said the store also encouraged before closing its doors in March.

“It was impossible to get people to not touch the books,” she said.

“That’s part of the joy of being in a bookstore, touching the product and looking through the pages and seeing if it’s what the person wants.”

Alongside increasing cleaning and sanitizing products, upon reopening, Alberta guidelines also recommend restricting returns and limiting the number of people in stores.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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