Retail businesses prepare to reopen Thursday

Updated: Apr. 29, 2020 at 6:50 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Retail stores are preparing to reopen beginning Thursday at 5 p.m. This comes after Gov. Kay Ivey announced that a “safer at home” order would go into effect then.

As businesses prepare, a top priority includes proper sanitation practices. The order requires these businesses to frequently wipe down surfaces.

The National Federation of Independent Business in Alabama director said it can be difficult for owners to find necessary supply with the high demand.

For instance, George Wilder, the owner of the clothing store The Locker Room, has been looking for a big bottle of hand sanitizer since the middle of March.

“We have a small bottle on the counter and we’re trying to figure out a place to put it but it’s pretty difficult to find,” he said.

The store has been making masks out of clothing fabric for hospital staff. Now they are creating the masks for their own customers come reopening day.

Stores will also face a challenge of making sure their clientele knows they are reopening.

Victor Vance owns several stores in Opelika including Kidz World. Vance said his regular customers have been allowed to shop at other locations during the stay at home order. He said it gave big box stores an advantage.

“We’ll try and get those customers back through pricing and online media,” Vance said.

Both Wilder and Vance said they may have sales to help turn over the inventory. But it’s still a balance, since many stores have been financially affected by the forced closures.

The governor said Tuesday different groups will help find out the best time to allow restaurants to offer dine-in service and for businesses like hair salons to reopen.

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