NEW BRITAIN – The state reopened parts of the economy Wednesday, allowing retailers to serve their customers in-store as many had been doing successfully before the shutdown.
Some stores, like Hair City downtown, opened as early as 9 am.
“Today is the first day people can come into the store,” said Tricey Rocker, clerk at Hair City. “Everyone was pretty excited we were finally open and we have been complying so far.”
Businesses had new guidelines and protocols they must adhere to and enforce.
“As you can see, we have our sanitizing station at the front, we put our aisle markers down, we put a shield up to keep our cashier safe, posted signs notifying customers they cannot come in without a mask and just taking all the necessary precautions required,” said Malisa Morris, co-owner of Jeweled Hair Lounge and Beauty Spa. “We’ve had customers come in and they were fine, they had their masks on. One didn’t have a mask and we had some at the door so she took one to come in.”
Morris added they do plan on taking temperatures in the near future.
“We’re trying to stay safe as well as keep the public safe that comes into our store,” Morris said.
Jeweled is a beauty supply store and salon, but just the beauty supply store is open. Hair City and Jeweled were both still offering curbside services for customers during the pandemic, but are glad to be able to offer in-store services again.
“Everyone is happy we’re open because we’ve been doing curbside and delivery and sometimes looking for a wig they’re at the door and I’m in here so they can’t get a good look at it,” Morris said.
“It’s good (being back) because I haven’t been here, so today is kind of my first day back,” Rocker said. “It’s a good feeling.”
One hundred percent of the staff at Rainbow in New Brite Plaza returned to their positions, according to Chanda Gatling, the District Manager at Rainbow. The store had a very successful morning; “we opened at 11 a.m. and our numbers are better than expected,” Gatling said.
Rainbow is allowing just 15 people in the store at a time and that’s including employees. Fitting rooms are closed, but because “we’re very customer-oriented, even if they bought the item in March before we closed, we’re still going to take it back,” Gatling said.
To practice social distancing, cashiers will only be using the outer two registers and not the middle one to remain six feet apart.
While many of the retailers are allowing customers to just walk in, Fantastic Fashion, a custom jewelry and clothing store in New Brite Plaza, has a buzzer system in which they are buzzing people in at point of entry. To keep traffic flow they have markers to direct traffic and at the register to maintain social distancing. They cleared out most of the clothing from the center of the store, leaving a wide array of space for distancing and have some clothing items in a small section to the right when you walk in.
Some retailers like Unknown Clothing have chosen not to reopen as of yet. They have been utilizing this time to do some in store renovations, but will continue to offer online services through their website and eBay, which has been doing well, until they are ready to open, according to Maciah Clark, co-owner.