FLORENCE, Ky. — Non-essential retail stores across Kentucky opened their doors Wednesday for the first time since March 25. The marks of the COVID-19 pandemic were visible inside.
Eighty-eight of the Florence Mall’s 113 storefronts remained shuttered. Of the 25 that had reopened, some required customers to enter masked.
Newly installed sanitizer dispensers stood near signs outlining store safety measures and limiting the number of customers allowed inside each shop at a time.
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“We are cleaning after every customer touches a shoe, touches a bench, touches the keypad,” said Makayla Slusher, a sales associate at Finish Line. “We also have hourly cleaning where we have to clean everything.”
Wednesday’s crowd of shoppers was sparse, but Customer T-shirts owner Misho Elnahas said being able to open at all was a relief.
“I’m so happy,” Elhanas said. “It’s been a long time, almost two months we were closed down. I’m so happy. Hopefully, it’s going to be busy the next days.”
Tony Tayabee, who manages the clothing shop Funke Fusion, said he hoped customers would keep in mind the extra work required to uphold new safety standards — and the risk to employees if shoppers choose not to practice safe hygiene and distancing habits.
“I hope everybody follows the rules,” Tayabee said. “It makes it easier for the employees.”