Oahu retailers urge customers to prepare for a very different shopping experience

Updated: May. 13, 2020 at 7:17 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two months after they were forced to close down, Oahu retailers are scrambling to put the finishing touches on their stores to be able to reopen Friday.

But customers who do venture out will see lots of changes, including limits on how many people can enter a store.

At HIC in Kapolei Commons on Tuesday, employees were mopping the floors, wiping down the vents and disinfecting merchandise.

“We are cleaning like we’ve never cleaned before,” said Mitch McEwen, HIC brand manager.

“We want to keep our employees safe, but we also want to create a safe environment where customers do feel comfortable,” he added.

[Read more: LIST: Hawaii shopping centers plan reopen dates, new hours]

A couple doors down at Cookies, it was a family affair getting the store ready for Friday’s reopening.

Darcy Cook, the owner's mother, showed off distancing markers, masks and gloves for everyone.

It’s all part of the new norm.

Among the biggest changes: Under city guidelines, fitting rooms must remain closed.

And there are limits on the number of customers allowed into each store: For every 200 square feet, one customer can come in.

“It’s going to be hard for the customers. It’s going to be hard to do business, but we’ll try to make the best of it,” said Howard Cook, whose daughter owns Cookies.

Added McEwen: “We are also going to have to police customers from trying stuff on in the store."

Retailers say there is confusion on returns since there's no government policy.

Some are not accepting returns while others are accepting them, but waiting one to three days for the items to go back on the shelf.

Many retailers are also holding sales to welcome their customers back and think customers will be testing the waters for a while to determine if they feel safe.

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