As India prepares for the new normal with Unlock 1.0apparel stores, too, are making a comeback, with several brands opening stores after obtaining necessary permissions from authorities. These stores are putting in place a slew of measures to ensure social distancing and adequate sanitation measures.
Mandatory Masks and thermal screening at stores
The store manager of a Louis Phillippe outlet that is yet to reopen tells us, “Buying clothes requires personal contact with the product. In most cases, people try the clothes on. So yes, there’ll be greater apprehension among people when it comes to buying clothes, and that’s why we need to go the extra mile in reassuring them that it’s safe to return.” Some measures taken by stores include mandatory thermal screening, wearing masks and ensuring social distancing is maintained. In addition, clothes and common areas such as escalators and cash counters are being regularly disinfected.

Acrylic shields at cash counters
Stores are pushing for contactless shopping, wherein a customer does not need to interact with any attendants. “We are trying to minimise direct contact between shoppers and attendants to maintain social distancing. However, attendants will be present and ready to assist if a shopper requires,” says a salesperson at an H&M store in Delhi. Similarly, Uniqlo has made using sanitisers mandatory before handling the shopping basket, apart from thermal screening and sanitisation at the entrance, and have put acrylic shields at cash counters to maintain social distancing.

Protective gear for staff
For luxury brands, having personal attendants for their clientele is a must. So, they are ensuring the staff is wearing protective gear. Surya Suri, Director, Steele Collection, says, “We are leaving no stone unturned to make sure our customers receive the highest levels of satisfaction in terms of our products as well as safety measures.” The brand has distributed protective gear among its employees, and is conducting regular sanitisation and temperature checks.

Disinfecting trial rooms between use
Though using trial rooms is not allowed as per government guidelines, stores are preparing for the time when these will be allowed. Most stores will open up only half of their trial rooms. Ramesh, who works at a Lifestyle store in Delhi, says, “When trial rooms are allowed to reopen, each room will be sanitised and disinfected between use. In addition, each garment tried on by shoppers will be disinfected before being put back on the shelves.” Other brands are taking similar measures.