Burbank small business owner navigates reopening process for in-store shopping

Amanda Vernon is getting her gift and art store in Burbank ready to reopen for in-store shopping.

Thursday, May 28, 2020
Burbank small business owner prepares to reopen store
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Amanda Vernon is getting her gift and art store in Burbank, Stay Home Friend Shopping, ready to reopen for in-store shopping.

BURBANK, Calif. (KABC) -- Small business owners across Southern California are rejoicing over the news that in-store retail establishments are allowed to reopen with people shopping in the aisles.

Los Angeles County retail stores were allowed to welcome back customers to shop inside with strict guidelines starting Wednesday.

Amanda Vernon is getting her gift and art store in Burbank, Stay Home Friend Shopping, ready to reopen, and moving from curbside pickup and delivery to in-store shopping.

"We're going to be really precautious - masks, we're doing all the guidelines," Vernon said.

RELATED: Retail stores allowed to reopen in city of Los Angeles, Garcetti says

Mom and pop shops and small retailers received approval this week at the state and local levels to resume in-store shopping.

"I think it's great for retailers across the state and for consumers who are anxious to get back into stores," said Rachel Michelin, the president of the California Retailers Association.

The past 10 weeks since the coronavirus pandemic shut down business has been tough. Vernon says she had to close her second store and reinvent themselves to a delivery service to survive.

"I want to stay viable so we will continue to do delivery, online," Vernon said. "The themed-gift bags we've been doing have been really popular."

Allowing in-person shopping comes with strict guidelines. That includes making sure physical distancing is practiced, putting marks on the ground six feet apart and sanitizing, Michelin explained.

Consumers will see hand sanitizer in the stores, more cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and face coverings are recommended by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Some areas like L.A. County require them.

In Long Beach, Mayor Robert Garcia explained retail will only be able to open up at 50% and adjustments must be made to practice six feet of physical distancing.

Vernon says she's hopeful, but knows the shopping experience will be different.

"I don't think browsing is encouraged. You kind of need to come in and get what you need to get and go," Vernon said. "We are a browsing store, so that's tough for us."

Vernon says she plans to welcome back customers into her store starting this Saturday.