In-person shopping in New Jersey resumes today — albeit with modifications — as the state moves to phase two of its reopening plan.
As of today, stores are able to reopen at 50% capacity. They must follow enhanced sanitization requirements and put social distancing procedures in place. Face coverings are required of both customers and employees, and workers must also wear gloves. Further, stores must have physical barriers at checkout, and they are asked to make use of contactless pay options whenever possible.
In addition to retail stores, bars and restaurants can resume outdoor dining services beginning today. Previously, restaurants and nonessential retailers had only been able to provide curbside service.
However, personal care services, including day spas, nail salons and barbershops remain shut for now and are expected to reopen June 22. Additionally, the interior spaces of malls and other indoor shopping facilities are still closed, and a date for reopening malls has not yet been announced. But customers are able to shop in stores that have their own outdoor entrances.
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In the United States, there have been more than 2.1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Monday, as well as over 115,000 fatalities. With over 12,600 dead in New Jersey, the state has seen the second-highest death toll in the country, behind only neighboring New York.
Following months of coronavirus-induced closures, all 50 states began to ease their restrictions in May, with many states allowing nonessential retailers to resume business. As retailers such as Nordstrom, Macy’s and TJ Maxx have reopened units, they have implemented safety precautions to help keep employees and shoppers safe.
The coronavirus crisis has hit brick-and-mortar retail hard — with both temporary store closures and decreased discretionary spending hurting companies’ bottom lines. Many retailers took moves this spring aimed at bolstering liquidity, such as cutting back operating expenses, furloughing store workers and tapping revolving credit lines. With the coronavirus compounding existing challenges for brick-and-mortar, a growing list of companies have also filed for bankruptcy since last month, among them J.Crew, Neiman Marcus Group and JCPenney. What’s more, many store closures that were meant to be temporary could become permanent, according to Coresight Research. The firm forecasts between 20,000 and 25,000 net closures in 2020, compared with a record high of 9,500 closures last year.