In a world forever altered by Covid-19, where masks, hand sanitisers and social distancing are the new normal, as we cautiously venture out again and Singapore re-opens restaurants, shops and sports facilities in the post-Circuit Breaker Phase 2, it's safe to say we can expect a different shopping experience come June 19.
Clothing retail, in particular, would be more affected by, say, supermarkets or bookstores. After all, the whole point of going shopping for clothes is to touch them and try them on — otherwise, we might as well stay home and shop online. But with the virus still out there, and with clothes going over faces and touching bodily fluids when tried on, how safe is it to swan into your favourite store and pop into the changing room with an armful of dresses?
As with everything, there are risks involved. If you want to be 100 per cent safe, stay home. But if you think it's okay to indulge in some physical retail therapy while taking every necessary precaution, this is what one local clothing brand, Yacht 21, is doing to ensure a safe experience for its customers.
Jaren Ho, the founder of the homegrown urban resort wear label, tells 8days.sg that these safety precautions will be practised in their three stores and one pop-up:
1. Customers to complete a health declaration and show a screenshot to staff before entering the store.
2. Staff will encourage customers to sanitise their hands before entering the store by approaching them with hand sanitisers.
3. Customers have to keep a safe distance of 1m while browsing or queuing for fitting rooms.
4. Fitting rooms will be sanitised with sprays and all hangers and surfaces (such as stool and mirror) will be wiped down after every use.
5. All surfaces in the store will be cleaned three times a day with disinfectant.
6. Staff will steam every garment which has been tried by customers — high heat is a good way to kill germs.
So there you go. Different stores will probably have different sets of protocols — some may require ID registration for contact tracing, some may put a cap on the number of customers allowed at any one time, while others may discourage browsing or the trying on of items. We've also heard some luxury stores are quarantining clothes for 24 hours after they've been tried on.
Which measures are good enough for you? It all depends on your comfort level. Stay safe as we venture out.
Yacht 21 stores are at #B1-239 Jewel Changi Airport, #02-34 Bugis Junction, #02-459 Suntec City, with a pop-up store at #02-09 Wheelock Place. You can also shop online at https://www.yacht21.co.