A few hours separate the country from its gradual return to a new “normality”, with the first stores counting down for their reopening after quarantine.
As soon as the opening of some stores was announced, store owners began to prepare feverishly, as well as to be equipped with the necessary protection measures to welcome their customers.
On May 4, the stores that will reopen are retail of books, newspapers and stationary, computers, regional computer and software units, telecommunications equipment, sports equipment, flowers, KTEO, hairdressers, hairdressers, barbershops, beauty salons, beauty salons optical and hearing aids.
Eva Kostala maintains a beauty centre in Kolonaki. As he explains to the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency, after the announcement of the date of reopening, they are constantly running to catch up. So far, Plexiglas has been procured and placed in the reception so that the person at the checkout does not come into contact with the customer.
There will also be plexiglass between the client and the nail technician. “There will be plexiglass with an opening underneath so that the hand can pass, and the craftswoman can do manicures. In this way, we are trying to further strengthen the protection measures we have taken, “said Ms Costala.
Masks and gloves will be mandatory for both employees and customers, while the store can accommodate up to seven people at most (along with employees).
At the same time, the wait will be outside the store, while any customer who does not have masks and gloves, will be given the store. Changes in masks and gloves will be continuous, as well as frequent disinfection.
“The appointments are closed for the next three weeks,” she said, adding that those calling to make an appointment would ask if they would comply with the protection measures. “We reassure them that we will abide by all the rules,” he said.
Vicky Koumoutsou, owner of a beauty centre in Kolonaki, has also taken the necessary protection measures. In fact, the store was ready to open shortly before the start of quarantine.
“We have taken all necessary measures. Our chairs are already remote, there are curtains. We will have gloves, masks for customers and staff, disposable robes and leggings, shoe protectors, so before someone enters the store he will get a set of everything I told you, he will dress from top to bottom and then he will enter. At the same time, we will only accept appointments “, he says while adding that the new reality is quite difficult and time-consuming.
Huge organization in sportswear stores
Quite organized with all the necessary protection measures, it seems to be a well-known chain of sportswear stores, with 22 stores throughout Greece. According to APE-MPE, the marketing manager of the stores, Vassilis Costopoulos, in all the shops there will be a stand at the entrance with antiseptic, masks and gloves, for anyone who does not have it, as it will be mandatory for everyone to wear masks and gloves.
“Specifically, when someone enters the store that will be completely sterile, they have to clean their hands with an antiseptic that will be at the entrance of the store, wear a disposable mask – which will be on the stand – if they do not have gloves one use. So he enters a completely sterile environment to try on shoes and whatever else he needs “, notes Mr Costopoulos.
In fact, as he says, the transition from “Staying Home” to “Staying Safe” and “Staying Safe During Our Markets” is a generalized action taken by both traders and the Athens Chamber of Commerce, who it was supplied with 3,000 masks and 3,000 antiseptics which it will provide to its members “.
In addition, in multi-level stores, elevators will only be used by people with disabilities, wheelchairs and people who really need it, and test rooms will be used one by one.
Plexiglas has also been installed in the coffers, and workers will be constantly informing consumers about how to wash the clothes they buy or how to clean their shoes.
“We want consumers and employees to be safe. The environment is completely sterile because we have disinfected, so before you enter you must somehow sterilize yourself “, Mr Costopoulos emphasizes in APE-MPE.
The goal, he says, is the cross-channel, multi-channel “digital marketing” strategy (digital marketing) that will help the consumer stay in the store for a maximum of 5 minutes.
Electronic orders have increased in bookstores
The workload is also high for Dimitris, who works in a central bookstore in the centre of Athens, as although the store was closed, online orders increased dramatically. “Since the closure of the stores due to the virus, traffic in the online store has increased significantly.
The volume of work all this time is greater than it would be in the corresponding period with the shops open “, he points out to APE-MPE.
He further explains that in terms of safety measures, everyone, customers and employees, should wear gloves and a mask during work. The same company has supplied the employees with them, while there will be antiseptics in many parts of the store. At the same time, daily cleaning is carried out in all areas.
Employees and consumers now seem ready to face a new reality, so that they can “stay safe” during their work and shopping.