By ANGELINE JANE BERNABE, ABC News (NEW YORK) — The future of department stores post-pandemic is starting to take shape as Nordstrom unveiled the changes they are making to help protect their workers and shoppers amid the coronovirus outbreak.Nordstrom announced it will shutter 16 stores in an effort to weather the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, while also putting precautions in place as it gets ready to open back up its approximately 380 stores across the country. Safety is at the top of its concerns as selected locations begin to reopen.“It really can’t be said enough — your health, and the health of our employees, are our priority,” Nordstrom CEO Erik Nordstrom and President and Chief Brand Officer Pete Nordstrom said in a statement Tuesday outlining their approach to reopening. “We want to be sure the approach we’re taking to reopen our stores is thoughtful, and that we’re creating a store environment that’s safe for everyone.”First, they addressed that stores will only reopen where it’s allowed by state and local governments, if safety measures and protocols are in place and if they are confident they can ensure the safety and wellbeing of their employees and customers.The company also provided a glimpse of what the future of shopping may look like when stores reopen with a list of updates to the shopping experience at their stores to keep everyone healthy.Customers can expect shortened hours to make time for additional cleaning. There will be a limit on the number of customers allowed inside to allow for social distancing and face coverings will be provided for employees and customers along with health screenings for employees.Some of the practices they will implement include modifying the fitting-room experience and returns. Fewer fitting rooms will be open and they will be cleaned between uses. Any merchandise that is tried on will be held for a period of time before it goes back to the rack and returned merchandise will be kept off the sales floor for a period of time.At the registers, there will be plexiglass between customers and cashiers and no cash will be accepted.Amid the pandemic, Nordstrom has remained open for online shopping and has offered contactless curbside services for online orders, which will continue.“We are living in very difficult times and there are many unknowns,” Nordstrom wrote on its website. “What we do know is we have been around for 119 years, and the strength of our customers are what have sustained us through tough times.”
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