Alberta retail opening gets touchy

St. Albert lingerie store among those working around restrictions as province starts to open up

St. Albert Gazette
May 26, 2020

St. Albert Gazette
— Bra fittings took some planning, according to Robin Molyneaux at Midnight Magic Lingerie.

Bra fittings usually require a lot of close contact, and it took some planning to make sure staff could serve clients safely, according to Robin Molyneaux of Midnight Magic of St. Albert as Alberta allowed retailers to open for the first time in weeks.

Phase 1 of Alberta’s COVID-19 relaunch strategy went into full swing on May 14, meaning non-essential businesses like restaurants, hair salons, pubs, retail and health services can now reopen. 

At Midnight Magic Lingerie, store owner Molyneaux said the shopping experience will look different as the store transitions in to a long, slow reopening process.

Bra fittings are an example.

“We don’t have to stand inside the change room right now, and we’re only going to do this for the first couple of weeks. If we see the cases haven’t increased, then we can go to the next level,” Molyneaux said.

Clients now go in to the change rooms to try on items, opening the curtain back up for staff to check the fit and adjust the straps.

When coming in for an appointment, clients are asked to wear masks and avoid rifling through inventory themselves. Once garments have been tried on, they’re steamed and set aside for 24 to 48 hours.

Shield guards have been installed at the cashier when it comes time to purchase.

“Everything is in place and it’s working well. The problem we’re having is we’re inundated with phone calls and appointments, and we can’t keep up,” Molyneaux said. 

Normally the spring months are busier months for the store, and since COVID-19 hit, sales have been down by 70 per cent.

 “I’ve worked around the clock for the last two months, so it’s been very difficult and challenging. But it looks like we’re coming out of it,” she said. “I can’t wait until it gets back to normal, the new normal,” she said.

The Running Room in St. Albert welcomed back customers ahead of the May long weekend, with reduced hours.  

“The first two days we were open, we had people lining up out the door,” said Warren Footz, store manager.

Only three people are allowed in the store at a time in order to maintain physical distancing, and each person is allowed to try on a few pairs of shoes and items of clothing at once.

People are also advised not to reach for the display shoes on the wall, but to ask a staff member to grab a pair from the back.

If the product isn’t purchased after being worn, the staff quarantines items in the back for 48 hours.

Staff are equipped with gloves, masks and hand sanitizer, making sure to wash their hands regularly during a shift. 

On May 22,  the province announced outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed as Alberta continues a phased easing of COVID-19 restrictions.


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