What shopping malls will look like in a new California

It’s only a matter of time until we’ll be able to step foot inside a retail store, but the experience will be different.

“I think the number one change is you're going to see reduced capacity in retail stores,” says Rachel Michelin, President and CEO of the California Retailers Association.

Michelin says all retailers must limit capacity to 50%, in accordance with the state’s mandated guidelines.

Some stores, including Urban Outfitters and Target, have already banned fitting rooms so customers cannot try on clothes.

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“Some of my retailers are talking about going back to appointments where you can actually set up an appointment with someone to go into the store,” says Michelin.

Appointment shopping has been adopted by Best Buy; the company putting out guidelines on its website for its in-store consultations.

Department stores, such as Macy’s and Nordstrom, are not planning to require reservations.

Nordstrom says it will provide face coverings for employees and customers; shoppers will be allowed to try on clothes, but those items that aren’t purchased will be quarantined for a period of time.

Macy’s is planning to quarantine apparel for 24 hours. Its stores are marked for physical distancing; hand sanitizer will be readily available; the cosmetics counter will be hands-off and require a beauty advisor, and registers will be equipped with plexiglass dividers, as customers will find at most retailers.

The mall experience is going to be different, as well. Michelin says expect limited entrances and exits and the potential to wait in line outside individual stores as retailers work to limit capacity.

The California Retailers Association is looking ahead to Friday, May 22nd, when the Westfield Roseville Galleria reopens, becoming one of the largest malls to do so in California.

The Sacramento area shopping center has nearly 200 stores. Michelin says it’s going to be a good test of what’s to come.  

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