PEI announced Renew PEI, Together, a four phase approach to loosening the restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. If the government has concerns about progressing into a next phase, progress will be slowed, halted, or even reversed to continue to protect the health of Islanders. The government has released a document providing detailed information but the highlights for retailers are as follows:
Phase 1 – May 1, 2020:
- Phase 1 begins including opening some public spaces and commencing with some health care services
Phase 2 – May 22, 2020:
- Non-essential retail will be able to open including garden centers.
- Of note for clothing retailers:
- Customers will not be allowed to try on clothes in retail stores. This includes footwear.
- There is currently no rule preventing the customer from trying on the clothing item elsewhere.
- There is currently no rule regarding the return of clothing to the retailer after it has been tried on.
Initially, the government was considering a rule to not allow customers to even touch clothing items so as to ensure that no clothing was tried on. RCC was successful in preventing such a decision. RCC advocated strongly for clothing retailers to be permitted to allow customers to try on clothes in the retail store. RCC provided suggestions including:
- After a customer tries on clothes, retailers could quarantine these clothes for a specific time period (eg: 24-48 hours) before returning the product to the retail floor.
- Keeping every second change room vacant to ensure social distancing.
- Thoroughly cleaning change rooms (walls, seating, door handles, doors, etc) following each usage.
RCC also reminded the PEI government that currently, online retailers based in other countries are shipping clothing to doorsteps in PEI. Islanders are trying on these clothes and in some cases, returning the clothes to the online retailer. These online retailers have an unfair advantage over the PEI based retailers who pay taxes, employ Islanders, etc. Despite RCC’s efforts, the government has decided that it cannot allow customers to try on clothing.
Phase 3 – June 1, 2020:
- This will include public gathering of 15 people (20 if outdoors), restaurants will be able to allow indoor dining (max of 50 people).
- Looking forward.
For the foreseeable future, border screening will continue at points of entry and all persons entering PEI will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
RCC will continue to work with Island retailers and the government as these phases are implemented.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Jim Cormier, Director (Atlantic) at: [email protected] or (902) 422-4144