Retail stores open this weekend with rules to limit virus, but not all shoppers are ready
Mother's Day weekend will be the first time in almost six weeks that many retailers can welcome customers into their stores.Posted — Updated
The easing of restrictions on business activity during the statewide stay-at-home order doesn't necessarily mean that customers will immediately return, however.
"Non-essential" businesses like boutiques, gift shops, book stores, craft stores and others can reopen at 5 p.m. Friday at 50 percent of their allowed capacity. Retailers also must adhere to social distancing guidelines for customers and staff and frequently clean and disinfect their stores.
At Crabtree Valley Mall, hand sanitizer stations have been installed, and shoppers are encouraged to use sliding doors to avoid touching door handles. Also, the touch screen mall directory has been disabled, and children's play areas have been closed.
"I think it will be good for people to get out of the house," he said. "They are looking forward to putting on something other than sweatpants and being able to get out of the house again."
Some people said they're uneasy about heading out to a mall right now.
Debby's Hallmark store, on Falls of Neuse Road in Raleigh, announced its plan to keep customers safe on Facebook. Masks will be required, a limited number of people will be allowed in the store and cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be increased.
The post had mixed reactions. Some customers said they were excited to hear the news and thanked the owner for doing everything possible to keep customers safe, while others said it’s too soon to reopen.
"I'll come back when masks aren't required and social distancing is over," one person wrote.
Other business owners opening this weekend said they understand customers' concerns.
"Honestly, what we’ve learned is there is going to be a new normal in retail," said Morgan Lashley, co-owner of Vestique at Park West Village in Morrisville. "Foot traffic is way down, and I think people just like myself are still to scared to go out. People are scared of the unknown, really."
"[We're available] whether you want to come to the store or you want the store to come to you," he said.
Although Durham County's stricter stay-at-home rules limiting retailers to curbside pick-up or deliveries remain in effect until May 15, Durham Mayor Steve Schewel said Wednesday that the state order takes precedence. So, Durham retailers also will be allowed to reopen on Friday if they follow social distancing guidelines for staff and customers and adhere to strict cleaning protocols.
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