Published Monday, May 18, 2020 1:00PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, May 18, 2020 1:11PM EDT
As part of the first stage of reopening Ontario, Premier Doug Ford has given additional businesses the green light to open this week, including retail stores outside of malls.
Stores with a street entrance that adhere to strict public health guidelines will once again be able to open their doors to customers.
“They need to ensure that they redo or redesign the interior of their store to respect the one person per four square metres,” she said. “The two-metre distance is going to be extremely important.”
She said many store owners have installed Plexiglas in front of their cash areas and customer service counters.
“They need to put all of the sanitation protocols in place,” she said, adding that some stores will require employees to wear masks.
Clothing retailers are permitted to allow people to use change rooms but adjustments will need to be made, she said.
Brisebois said many clothing shops have indicated that they will close some of their change rooms and will only operate one at a time.
“Once a customer leaves the change room and leaves clothing behind, the change room is sanitized and the clothing that they’ve tried on will be quarantined for some time,” she said.
“In other cases, some retailers may tell the customers (to) please indicate what you would like to try and a sales associate would take that clothing and bring it to the change room.”
One thing customers should not expect to see any time soon is big sales promotions, Brisebois said.
“From what we’ve heard from our merchants, they are going to take it slowly. We would be surprised if there are flash sales. They know that they not only need to limit the number of people in their store but also ensure that if there are lineups, that those lineups are manageable,” she said.
“They are not aggressively pushing promotions.”
She said many retailers will simply be learning how to best operate their stores as they go.
“(We don’t have) answers to all of the questions yet. It will be adapting and finding out what customers are more comfortable with,” she said. “I think retailers are very good at adapting.”