We are currently going through a turning point in our history, a period that we will remember forever. It hasn’t been easy and we will continue to fight until it’s over, but at least we can see that the situation is improving. The proof: all of our stores will reopen their doors within the next few weeks!
Of course, the reopening of our stores will not be a regular one. In fact, it will be necessary to put extraordinary measures in place to ensure the health of customers, employees and their loved ones.
We are happy to announce that we’ve put a great number of measures in place so that your shopping can be done without worries. To sum up how our stores will offer a risk-free shopping experience, we decided to talk to none other than Phil Grisé, founder of Empire. Here's what he has to say about reopening his stores.
Sup Phil, how have you been? I've been good! We are preparing to reopen the stores as we speak. It feels good to see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.
What’s your overall feeling concerning the shops reopening? I feel really good. This is a unique moment in our existence and I believe that we are going in the right direction with the gradual reopening, if done correctly of course. We are aware that severe measures will have to be applied and we take this very seriously. We have put in place a solid plan which makes me believe that the reopening will be fairly smooth.
Can you give us more details about the measures that have been put in place? Of Course! I will start by mentioning that I never thought I would find myself in such a situation, but at the end of the day, there’s no measures that are too serious for the health of our people!
First, we will be controlling the number of customers inside the stores so that we are able to respect the 2 meters distance between us. We are fortunate to have fairly large stores and limiting entries will allow us to ensure a MINIMUM of 2 meters in distance between customers without preventing them from moving around the store freely. An employee will be at the door to welcome you and encourage you to disinfect your hands before you enter.
Will there be other places to wash your hands in the stores? There will obviously be several hands washing stations, around 5 per store. We were fortunate enough to get our hands on a good amount of medical grade disinfectant and ALL of our stores will have multiple washing points to provide peace of mind for everyone. You will only have to place your hands under the dispenser and an odorless and disinfecting foam will fall on them.
We see more and more businesses installing glass or plexiglass around their counters. Do you plan to do the same? Yes. All the places where communication between customers and employees will be necessary, such as the cash counter or service counter, will be surrounded by plexiglass. This will allow communication and a certain “proximity” all while blocking the transmission of potentially contagious particles.
And what are your politics for gloves and masks? We will have latex gloves for customers who wish to use them for shopping. We know that gloves can irritate some people's hands, so they will not be mandatory, but if you feel more comfortable with the gloves, we will have a pair for you. We will also give our staff the opportunity to work with masks. We will not force them to wear it, but it will be at available for them if they want it. One way or another, we will have stocks of masks for every employee who wants to wear one.
Many people have questions about trying on clothes. Have you thought of a solution at this level? We know it can be difficult to buy clothes without trying them on, so we'll allow customers to try 5 pieces per visit. The items that will not be purchased will be isolated for a few days before being put back on the shelves. That way, we’re sure no one will be exposed to someone else's bacterias while trying on clothes.
Sounds like a solid plan! Have you implemented any other measures that we should be aware of? Yeah! Another super important thing that we decided to set up is a permanent "janitor", who will walk around the store all day long with a cart full of cleaning products. The janitor will have the sole task of disinfecting all surfaces of the store, from the first minute it opens until the very end of the day.
It’s definitely comforting to hear that you guys are not taking this lightly. Would you like to add something to wrap up this interview? First, I would like to tell our extended family that I look forward to seeing each other again. Whether in stores or outside! I would also like to say that we will make tremendous efforts to keep everyone safe and that we are counting on your good will to follow the rules as much as we do.