SEATTLE — On Friday, Governor Inslee announced retail stores can reopen, but only for curbside pickup orders. Retailers must follow the state's requirements before starting businesses back up again.
Under Inslee's plan, the state is reopening in four phases, with three weeks in between each phase. Retail with curbside pickup orders only was slated to return during Phase 1, which began on May 5.
After being shut down since mid-March, small shops like Vixen Day Spa and Boutique say they are ready to rebound. Owner Courean Napolitano is grateful to reopen, even partially, before Mother's Day.
"It would be a huge day for us," Napolitano said.
The holiday usually brings a boost for business, but this year it will look different. Due to coronavirus, there will be sales with no contact.
"We're trying to get people to shift to where they would come here to the curbside pickup or to the door, and prepay for their orders," said Napolitano.
During this pandemic, it's the path forward her business has been waiting for.
The retail industry provides jobs for approximately 400,000 people in the Washington, and at the beginning of 2019, retail was responsible for $170.2 billion in taxable retail sales in the state, according to the Washington Retail Association.
"Retailers are ready to go. I think in many ways, they are ready to move even quicker into Phase 2. Having those protocols in place are going to be really critical in seeing whether or not we can even open up the next phase of retail even sooner than the June 1st projected timeline," said Renee Sunde, President and CEO of the Washington Retail Association.
Under Inslee's phased approach to reopening, in-store purchases will be allowed to happen during Phase 2, with some restrictions.
The Washington Retail Association has been working closely with state leaders to define guidelines for retailers, according to Sunde.
"That guidance will be effective immediately. So as soon as retail businesses can comply with the requirements, they will be able to start businesses back up again," said Nick Streuli, External Relations Director.
"We will be ensuring that social distancing is put in place, PPE, and facial covering will be part of that process," said Sunde.
Napolitano welcomes the process and is focusing on reopening safely.
"I think for a lot of us are concerned about our own staff, so we may go above and beyond what those guidelines are," Napolitano said.