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Washington retailers worry about restrictions as they prepare to reopen

Rules and restrictions from the state mean the shopping experience is going to be very different for customers and store employees.

TACOMA, Wash. — Local retail stores are worried about what business will look like as they wait on Phase 2 of Governor Jay Inslee's "Safe Start Washington" plan.

Rules and restrictions from the state mean the shopping experience is going to be different for customers and store employees.

Clothing boutique eTc Tacoma has been located downtown for more than five years. Like many retail stores, eTc Tacoma has offered curbside pick-up and online sales to get by during the lockdown.

Owner Umi Wagoner said he feels like he has been sitting on his hands, waiting to reopen.

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"Normal is just... we don't know what that means so I don't want to use that too much, but we want to get back to doing what we do as regularly as we can," Wagoner said.

Before retail stores can do that, they have to adopt a written procedure with rules and restrictions that align with Phase 2 safety requirements.

Customer traffic is going to be a huge part of those requirements with guest occupancy restricted to no more than 30% of the building's maximum capacity. Social distancing markers and measures will also be important.

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Sanitation will be constant, especially for high-touch areas and fitting rooms. When customers try on items, those items will have to be taken off the sales floor for at least 24 hours.

"Does it make sense for our space? Not so much. Do I think that works in a more Macy's setting? Yes. I think that it's easier," Wagoner said. "I think some of it is going to be difficult for us but I think a lot of it we'll be able to adjust to."

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