NATICK (CBS) — If you’re eager to browse and shop in Massachusetts stores again, expect things to be a bit different. Store managers are preparing for a different shopping experience.
At Lemon Tree Goods, a women’s clothing store in Natick, the owners hired a contractor to install a clear plastic partition Thursday. They’ve also replaced all the straight racks with round ones, so customers can spread to opposite sides, and they’re marking the floor for one-way foot traffic.
“It’s do or die for us now,” said part owner Mary Barber. She hopes Gov. Charlie Baker will give the go-ahead for stores to open Monday, which is the earliest possible date for the state’s second phase of reopening.
“If we don’t open on Monday, I mean, it’s just soul-crushing,” she said.
The announcement is expected Saturday, but stores are unpacking inventory now with fingers crossed.
“We’re doing everything, invested a ton of money into redoing everything so that it’s clean and safe and everything is more visible,” Barber said.
Next door, H. Brandt Jewelers has hand sanitizer and disinfectant scattered across the counters and a box of disposable masks at the entrance.
“We’re going to do our best to make people feel comfortable and safe,” said owner Stew Brandt.
Here’s what customers can expect:
-only eight people per 1,000 square feet, or 40% capacity
-no fitting rooms
-6 feet or more between customers
-physical partitions where 6-foot separation isn’t possible
Even if a little more patience is in order, the president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts said heading back to local stores is throwing them a lifeline.
“We want to protect, preserve and promote our main streets,” he said. “So it really is incumbent upon all of us consumers to contribute to that.”