Kansas City retailers reopen with changes to keep customers safe

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some Kansas City businesses are now able to reopen, as of Wednesday, under the city’s soft reopening.

They have to follow social distancing guidelines and the 10/10/10 rule, which limits the number of people allowed inside to 10% of building occupancy or 10 people, whichever is greater.

The rule also encourages businesses to collect contact information for those who stay longer than 10 minutes, but it’s not required.

Regardless of the limitations, many Kansas City retailers are simply glad to open their doors. 

The Bunker, a popular retailer in Westport, is making changes to help customers feel safe.

The few customers who have returned to the store told workers they’re happy to have a new place to shop.

The store is limiting its occupancy to no more than 10 shoppers, to comply with public health guidelines still in place.

In addition, the retailer has installed glass dividers at its checkout counter for the safety of both workers and customers.

There’s hand sanitizer available and signs reminding folks to keep six feet between each other.

“It is a gradual process. We are seeing what happens in the soft opening phase here,” general manager Drew Barr said.

“Depending on what the city allows and what we are seeing in the retail world by the 15th, we are hoping we can open up more fully. And we will keep taking steps toward returning to more full normalcy as time proceeds and we see how things are working out.”

For now, the Bunker offers what it calls a personal shopping experience.

The door is locked and you have to knock to be allowed inside. Workers are also asking shoppers to wear face masks. And hours have been cut back, with the store closing at 6 p.m. instead of staying open until 8 p.m. or 9 p.m.

Online sales and curbside pickup have helped the retailer survive during the last seven weeks.

The store said it’s continuing curbside pickup for anyone who’s not comfortable returning inside the store.

For the first time since March, Brookside Jewelry opened it doors. The barbershop next door was still closed, as were the majority of businesses in the area.

“They did a survey of all the Brookside shops and about 25% were planing on opening today,” manager Duke Cuda said. “We kind of felt like it was time for our shop to open up with Mother’s Day around the corner and trying to get back to a normal routine.”

The jewelry shop is only allowing three customers at a time and everyone has to wear masks.

“We’re just going by what we feel is necessary and what will keep our employees safe,” Cuda said.

At BKS Nails, customers were wearing masks for their manicures and pedicures. They are sanitizing the salon and following the city’s now optional third 10 of the 10/10/10 rule, logging customers contact information in case health officials need it for COVID-19 contact tracing later.

The owner is happy to be back open. But the salon will be operate with less than half its usual employees.

“Some of them are not comfortable coming back yet,” owner Diana Dang said.

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