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B.C. clothing stores are allowed to be open. Why aren't they?
NORTH VANCOUVER -- After voluntarily closing her doors in mid-March, the owner of Get Dressed, a women’s clothing store in North Vancouver, is taking her first cautious step toward re-opening. She’s told her loyal customers if they call in advance, they can come shop in-person, one at a time.
“They book appointments, they come in usually through the back door, and we stay six feet apart,” said Erica Hughes.
A sales person gathers the items the client wants to try on and puts them in the change room.
“The store is big, so it’s easy to keep your distance from each other,” Hughes said.
There is nothing stopping Get Dressed and other clothing stores from opening to the general public, but Hughes is hesitant to go beyond the scheduled, one-shopper-at-a-time visits. She thinks consumers are waiting for the go-ahead from the provincial health officer.
“I think people really respect and are listing to what Bonnie Henry is saying,” Hughes said. “For us, I think it would take the nervousness away for a lot of our customers and give them that security that it is okay to come out shopping.”
The Robson Street Business Association agrees.
“She is somebody people trust, so if Bonnie is giving the green light or specific requirements, I think that will inspire consumer confidence,” said executive director Teri Smith.
But Smith is concerned Henry may not issue specific guidelines for retail stores to re-open, because she never ordered them closed in the first place.
“I do believe there needs to be some clear direction that comes down, like there is for the restaurants,” she said.
Hughes would welcome guidelines or recommendations from Bonnie Henry, even if they’re not legally required for re-opening.
“I’m anxious to get going,” she said. “I know my staff are anxious to get going. We miss our customers.”
She says the clients who’ve come to Get Dressed and had the whole store to themselves have loved the experience.
“The response has been, when they come in the store, ‘It’s so nice to feel normal,’” said Hughes.
She knows normal is a long ways off. But she’s counting on a trusted source to get us there.
“I do believe that Bonnie just needs to give us the go ahead,” she said.