Editor’s note: this article has been updated to reflect Ontario’s Stage 1 Framework released on Thursday, May 14.
After weeks of sitting in social isolation, many of us are itching to get back to normal life. And for those who love shopping, there’s a lot of curiosity around when our favourite stores will reopen.
Across Canada, provinces are slowly starting to lift non-essential business closures. As this happens, shopping malls and retailers, including Vancouver-based Aritzia, are opening doors to customers for the first time since the pandemic started.
The first Canadian Aritzia store that has reopened is in Winnipeg, which opened in early May.
And this week, Aritzia announced plans to open select locations across Vancouver, including its Park Royal and Robson St. locations, as well as its TNA store on South Granville.
The guidelines for reopening varies province-to-province.
In Manitoba, stores are only allowed to be filled to half of their capacities. New Brunswick is asking retailers to install plastic shields for cashiers and place floor markings to control traffic flow. While in Alberta, the government wants retailers to minimize the handling of items, which could include extra hand sanitization before touching and trying on merchandise.
According to an interview with Financial Post, Brian Hill, Artizia’s CEO, says the hardest province to navigate thus far is Saskatchewan. The province is limiting retailers to the use of half of its changerooms, which are to be disinfected after every use, quarantine returned product for 72 hours, and suggests shoppers not touch anything in-store.
As of now, Ontario has lifted mandatory closures for retailers with street-facing storefronts and is encouraging a limited number of shoppers in-store, curbside pickup, and by-appointment shopping.
But even as provinces continue to lift restrictions, Hill says it’s unlikely that all Aritzia stores will reopen right away.
Shoppers can expect the company to take a staggered approach; prioritizing larger, more popular stores first.
“It’s super important for our customers to come in and feel safe and for us to ensure our workers feel safe, but we don’t want to lose that everyday luxury experience we have in our stores,” Hill told Financial Post. “As a leader in the industry, we can’t be putting restrictions on people and doing things such that the whole joy of the shopping experience isn’t there anymore.”
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