Retail stores are slowly reopening across the country as provincial governments ease up on COVID-19 closures.

In B.C., retail stores were able to reopen as of mid-May under enhanced protocols, and malls could reopen in Alberta as of May 14.

Ontario allowed retail stores located outside of indoor shopping malls to reopen as of May 19, and Quebec will allow some retail stores and businesses to reopen in the Greater Montreal area on May 25.

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But the way stores operate and how people shop within them will not be the same — at least for the foreseeable future.

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“Until a vaccine or treatment has come up, regardless of what the retailer does, the consumer is going to be very cautious about going back to retail,” said Kenneth Wong, a professor of marketing at Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business.

In-store modifications

Retail stores are thinking about customers’ in-store experience and how to make it as safe as possible,