Major retailers prep to reopen with new safety measures

ATLANTA — As retailers plan to reopen after being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many are reemerging with updated shopping experiences that include staff wellness checks, plexiglass shields and suspended beauty services.

On Monday, Ulta Beauty opened 180 stores with new safety measures in place.

Stores from the massive cosmetics company reopened in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and several other states along with in-store hair salon services.

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“As part of our thoughtful, phased reopening approach, each store was chosen after careful consideration of many factors, most importantly our ability to welcome you back safely,” said Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon in a statement.

She continued, “Our teams have worked with government and health officials and other retail leaders to bring the best shopping experiences to our stores.”

Many other companies such as Nordstrom, Old Navy, and Macy’s have also shared plans for keeping staff and customers safe while shopping.

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Ahead, see more precautions and plans being taken by by nationwide as well as global retailers.

Ulta Beauty

As stated in the company’s COVID-19 response, new practices for Ulta Beauty include but aren’t limited to face coverings required for all associates, hand sanitizer available for use throughout stores, limited occupancy throughout stores, and testers will no longer be available.

The company also announced employees will participate in daily wellness screens before shifts.

There is also a new “Curbside Pickup” option at more than 700 stores to allow shoppers a limited-contact drive-up shopping experience.


Earlier this month, Macy’s announced plans to reopen all of it’s department stores within the next six to eight weeks starting with Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee locations.

The department store will begin to require colleagues to complete wellness checks, wear provided masks at all times, and gloves will be worn by merchandise fulfillment/receiving teams.

The store also upgraded its physical shopping experience with hand sanitizers available for everyone, increased air ventilation and cleaning procedures in high touch areas.

Additionally, there are also plexiglass shields being installed at checkout counters.

Beauty services that require close contact are suspended as well.


Gap Inc. is reopening 800 of the company’s Old Navy, Athleta, Gap, Banana Republic, Janie and Jack and Intermix stores before the end of this month.

On May 6, the company outlined what the brand's "new normal" shopping experience will look like. The company is implementing rigorous cleaning routines throughout each store, providing hand sanitizer stations at front doors and cash wraps, temporarily closing fitting rooms in addition to temporarily closing restrooms and quarantining returns for 24 hours before putting them back on the sales floor​.

There will also be plexiglass health-guard partitions in front of registers and for mobile payments.

While Nordstrom has announced that 16 stores will be shuttered, there are plans to safely reopen approximately 380 stores nationwide.

Precautions and safety measures for department stores include providing face covers for employees and customers, adjusting store layouts to allow for social distancing, and contactless curbside services are also available.

“We are living in very difficult times and there are many unknowns,” Nordstrom wrote on its website. “What we do know is we have been around for 119 years, and the strength of our customers are what have sustained us through tough times.”


Kohl’s is taking a phased approach for openings.

Stores opened in four states on May 4, and opened in 10 more states on May 11, with precautions including but not limited to reduced operating hours, protective barriers at registers, sanitation stations, and reduced floor signage to allow for safe social distancing for customers.