Looking at the new normal as central Ohio shopping malls reopen

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Customers walking in to a DSW store will now find masks, gloves and hand sanitizer available just inside the doors. The aisles are marked off for one-way traffic to help maintain social distancing.  And any shoes that you try on are set aside rather than put back on the shelf.  

Polaris DSW store manager Erin White said shoes that have been handled by customers will be temporarily removed.

“We have health and safety associates who are taking them off the table and we have areas in our backroom where we are quarantining them for three to five days,” White said.

Business was slow but steady at DSW and at other stores inside the Polaris Fashion Place when the mall reopened Tuesday morning.

Brooke Rowland, manager at Jake’s Toggery in the mall, was encouraged by the customer turnout.

“We’ve had some pretty big sales so far today, so it’s great to have everyone back,” Rowland said.

Rowland said that given the tight quarters inside the store, they made the decision to require that customers wear face masks.

“We went back and forth on that for a while,” Rowland said. “We did decide officially to require masks just to help to minimize the spread of germs between customers.”

At Easton, customers will now find hand sanitizer stations at every turn, one-way stairways and signs informing them that face coverings are required for customers.

“If they don’t feel comfortable, we understand,” said Easton Chief Executive Jennifer Peterson. “If they’re not interested in wearing a face covering and don’t want to come, we understand that.”

What will be different?

  • Face coverings or masks of some kind are required for all workers. (There are some exceptions in some cases that have to do with worker safety.)
  • Malls and retail stores must follow strict new rules including social distancing of six feet between everyone in the store.
  • Store capacity will be limited.
  • Some stores may have a time limit on shopping.
  • Stores are required to have hand sanitizer available and must clean thoroughly throughout the day.
  • Some stores may require customers to wear masks.
  • Some individual retailers in malls may choose to stay closed or have their own hours of operation.

Coronavirus in Ohio resources:

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