Local businesses say it’s a lifeline.
Starting Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott is scaling back on state restrictions and will be allowing for businesses to conduct “retail to-go” service. The next phase of loosened restrictions is expected to be announced Monday.
Thousands of workers across North Texas are now preparing to get back to business in some way. Galleria Dallas is one of many places – big or small – that will be offering the service in a limited capacity.
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“Overwhelmingly, this is an exciting first step,” said general manager Angie Freed. “It’s definitely not business as usual but it is a return to the building. It’s encouraging baby steps and we want to do it safely. We’re really excited to take this next step and get some of our retailers back to business.
She explained that the structure will operate similarly to food take-out at restaurants. In accordance with state guidelines, customers must pull up to the curb or designated pick up location for the business. Retail employees will then place the items in the trunk or backseat. Customers are not allowed to get out of their car and they will not be permitted to enter the stores.
In order to shop, you'll have to order online or by phone -- just call the store you want to buy from and ask for their policy.
“They all have different systems and they are set up differently. Some of them may be more savvy with the online ordering and some of them, it may be the old fashioned way to pick up the phone in order. But we’re encouraged to see that they are giving it a try,” said Freed.
Only 15 retailers of about 200 at Galleria Dallas will be doing this to-go format. Customers will be required to come to the same pick-up location in front of the Westin hotel, where three lanes will be set up for to-go service.
"With 15 retailers participating, we don’t think that we’re going to get anything that we can’t handle," said Freed.
Hours are also limited from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Employees will be required to wear masks and gloves and Freed said they will be screened for coronavirus before entering the building.
"They are going to be asked some questions and we'll verify that they have their personal protective equipment. They’ll then be allowed to go to their store and retrieve merchandise for customers,” she said. "I’m pretty confident that we will be able to handle it and do it safely in a way that’s safe for everyone’s health."
At NorthPark Center in Dallas, security staff and employees will be set up at four parking lot stations, according to The Dallas Morning News. There are 16 participating stores, including department stores like Macy's and Dillard’s.
Frisco Stonebriar Centre will be setting up pick up in front of the Cheesecake Factory and Barnes & Noble. Other local retailers operating retail to-go in North Texas include Half-Price Books, Neiman Marcus
Meantime, smaller businesses like those at Highland Park Village are excited to get back to work in some way.
The owners of boot shop Miron Cosby are one of a third of stores that will be re-opening there.
“It’s been so tricky and really a tough time. With that said, I think we are taking this time to really figure out how to be nimble,” said owner Lizzie Duplantis. “As a small business, we’ve had to make some tough decisions. Financially, it’s certainly taking a hit. But we’re doing what we can.”
Duplantis opened the shop with her sister in 2017 and have gained a following since then. She said they’ve been able to connect with their customers on digital platforms and have leaned on other businesses in the area to continue moving forward.
“I think it’s one of the best things that has come of this. You got to look at the glass half full. We all kind of linked arms and we’ve been messaging back-and-forth to each other to see, What are you doing, What’s working for you? What can we do as a community to keep people safe but also keep our businesses intact?” she said. “We’re hoping to start getting some momentum for the purpose and morale of ourselves and our employees.”
The shopping center will be allowing customers to pull up to the individual store to shop. People will also not be allowed to get out of their cars and enter the stores. Several restaurants and a grocery store at the location have already been operating take-out.
“It’s just about finding ways to make it work. With their teams being off so many weeks, they’re kind of regrouping and figuring out how to adjust to a brand new business model,” said Victoria Snee, chief marketing officer at Highland Park Village. “To be able to get back to business is so vital for our small businesses and local businesses. It’s critical. We are very thankful for the retail to go opportunity."
Retail analysts think this “pick-up retail” could be a precursor to sweeping and lasting changes to shopping trends.
Because many retailers and shopping centers will be conducting the retail to-go format differently, you should first check with the store or mall on their website or by phone for instructions. Some are handling transactions solely through a website and others are taking payments over the phone.
Click the links below for more information from major malls and shopping centers in North Texas: