Retail stores forced to make adjustments due to COVID-19


Ryan Geary

Signs like this one are common in windows of local businesses to keep customers safe.

Ryan Geary, Staff Writer

Already struggling brick and mortar businesses have had to make adjustments to prevent the spread of the virus during their peak sales time, the holiday season. With the recent spike of COVID cases nationwide, local stores have bolstered safety restrictions. Area governments have tightened public requirements for places like retail stores, including wearing a mask, standing six feet apart and limiting how many people are allowed in each establishment. 

“I think they have handled it appropriately by keeping caps on how many people enter a store and requiring masks and distancing,” senior Marc Salvucci said. “This way people can still get their products”. 

Even though these adjustments have been made, the thought of spreading the virus has turned more people to online shopping. Online shopping already poses a threat to in-person stores because they take revenue away since people can order an item without leaving their homes. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the share of e-commerce in retail has increased by nearly five percent between the first and second quarter of 2020 nationwide. It is also presented that between the first quarters of 2018 and 2020 there was only a two percent increase in e-commerce in retail in the US. 

“I prefer shopping online because they have more options than in-store, and at the moment you can’t try things on,” senior Anna Beeman said. 

According to CBS12, another restriction being placed on stores that sell clothing is that they can’t reshelve an item for 24 hours after it is tried on to let active COVID molecules dissipate. As a result, more people lose interest in going to the in-person store. 

“Obviously the in-person store income has decreased because there are shorter open hours due to COVID,” Salvucci said. 

Stores in the Fairfax area have been decreasing their hours especially in popular places like the Fair Oaks mall during the holiday season. In some cases, employees make a commission of the sale and because of their reduced time, they are losing income.

“People who worked long shifts were forced to shorten because there is less need to keep all places staffed as long as before,” Salvucci said. 

There can be many employees at one store depending on the requirements and their managers must figure out how to distribute shifts and hours. As a result, jobs are decreasing because of the virus. This will not be permanent though, because the holiday season is coming up.

According to Business Wire, people are likely to shop earlier at retail stores this season and continue to shop a lot online because of their concerns about COVID. 

“I think the holiday season will be crucial to brick and mortar stores’ survival,” Beeman said.