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Retailers open, many report light customer traffic

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Retail stores and shopping malls are open for the first time in two months, but many retailers are reporting light foot traffic, even with precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. Tim Walz eased his stay-at-home order this month allowing the retailers to reopen at 50 percent capacity.

Patina specialty stores owner Christine Ward says despite opening all eight stores across the Twin Cities, it’s not much different than if they were closed.

“We’ve had maybe a couple people at each store. It’s not sustainable, for sure,” she said.

New business strategies include face masks and customer service shields, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

Apparel store owner Corey Roberts, in White Bear Lake, said online orders and curbside pickups have kept his business, The Minnesotan, afloat.

Roberts reopened his store Monday, but said he knows he’ll have to do more than open his doors.

“The entire COVID-19 experience is making our business strategies better, because we’ve got to win those customers back,” he said. “We’re going to look back and be almost grateful that we had to go through this. It should be an advantage for us on the other side.”