Saks Fifth Avenue reopened its flagship location in Manhattan on Wednesday, with limited hours and several enhanced safety precautions, including ultraviolet light handrail sanitizing.
I visited the store shortly after it opened on 11 a.m., and while I didn’t see many shoppers, the employees I talked to said they were glad to be back. Shopping in a pandemic made me anxious, but it felt more or less felt normal — minus the masks and hand sanitizer everywhere.
“I’m positive, I feel pretty good about it,” David Garcia, a Saks Fifth Avenue sales associate, told me. “I don’t feel concerned. We’ve taken enough precautions to make it feel secure.”
Here’s what it was like shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue during a pandemic.
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Saks Fifth Avenue may have just reopened the doors to its flagship store, but New Yorkers haven’t come running – at least, not yet.
On Wednesday, the department store joined peers like Nordstrom in opening its New York City locations to the public for the first time since March, when non-essential retailers temporarily shuttered to halt the spread of the coronavirus. With the return of the Fifth Avenue flagship, Saks Fifth Avenue has now reopened all 40 of its locations across the US and Canada.
The stores are operating under modified hours and enforcing “enhanced health, safety, and social distancing measures,” according to the company. These policies include the mandated use of facial masks, restricted elevator usage, daily health screenings for employees before starting a shift, and updated sanitizing procedures including the use of ultraviolet light on the store’s 22 handrails.
I was among the first shoppers to return to the store on Wednesday, entering the iconic, gleaming ten-story building on Fifth Avenue, shortly after it opened at 11 a.m. By the time I arrived from Brooklyn — a journey marking both my first time stepping foot on a subway and in the borough of Manhattan in three months — I was equal parts elated and rattled. Excited, but disoriented.
Based on the scarcity of shoppers I saw within the first hour of Saks Fifth Avenue’s reopening, it appears I was one of the few people able to overcome my nervousness and venture out.
Still, the employees were joyful, bubbly, and appeared genuinely happy to be back at work. One such employee was David Garcia, an associate in the watch department on the store’s lower level, who told me he is glad to return and feels Saks Fifth Avenue is taking adequate safety precautions.
“I’m positive, I feel pretty good about it,” he said. “I don’t feel concerned. We’ve taken enough precautions to make it feel secure.”
Whether or not fashionable New Yorkers will start to crawl out of their apartments and back into department stores en masse remains to be seen. In the meantime, here’s a closer look at what it’s like to shop at the recently reopened Saks Fifth Avenue flagship during a pandemic.
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Source:: Business Insider