How shops are preparing to reopen in France
Shops are slowly preparing for reopening as May 11 as the start of the end of lockdown approaches, but shopping will not be the same and several new measures must be respected by customers.
Shops have to reorganise their floorspace and stock so as to make more open areas within stores.
Fitting rooms will stay closed in most outlets due to their confined space. However, stores with spacious fitting rooms such as Kiabi plan to continue to use them but limit the number of people entering.
Others like Zara and H&M will advise shoppers to try clothes at home and return them if they do not fit.
There will also be someone at the entrance of every shop to let people in little by little to avoid having too many customers in shops at the same time, similar to the system used by supermarkets currently.
Wearing a mask is not obligatory – but shops can make it a requirement of entry if the owners so wish. Hydroalcoholic gel should be made available in the shops.
Inside the shop, shelves will be reorganised and some stores such as toy store JouéClub have planned a one-way system for people to circulate. A spokesperson for JouéClub, Franck Mathais, said to French media BFMTV: "We are in the process of imposing a compulsory direction of traffic in our stores to prevent people from crossing each other."
Packaged products will be accessible to everyone but others like soft cuddly toys, for example, will not be accessible; customers will have to ask a shopworker for these items.
Clothing stores are also buying UV machines to clean their products, as disinfectant and chemicals may damage them. The UV machines kill bacteria and the Covid-19 virus.
Once at the till, there will be plexiglass between the customer and employee to avoid contact.
Contactless payments will be prioritised, and from May 11, it will be possible to pay for totals up to €50 with a contactless card. It is currently limited to €30.
However, for some shops all these measures remain too expensive and they may not reopen on May 11 or may opt for an e-commerce solution.
Several federations and shopkeepers are also asking the government to postpone summer sales to mid-July. Sales are supposed to start on June 29 but it will be difficult to make up for losses experienced due to confinement if sales start then, they say.
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