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Kohl’s: About 25% of stores open by next week

Kohl’s shopper

Kohl’s Corp. is the latest retailer to announce significant changes to its stores as it begins to reopen locations that were shuttered during the pandemic.

In what it called a “phased approach, the department store company opened stores in four states — Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah — earlier this week. It plans to open stores in 10 additional states on Monday, May 11. The new states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana and Texas, as well as Florida and Tennessee where a majority of Kohl’s stores will open.

Kohl’s said it is working closely with other retailers of scale, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the National Retail Federation “to champion uniform operations and allow for safe reopenings.”

The retailer has made significant changes to its store environment and operations to help ensure the health and safety of its customers and employees. These include limited store hours, numerous cleaning and sanitization measures and social distancing measures that include the removal of in-aisle fixtures and limited entry to prevent overcrowding.

Employees will wear masks and gloves and be given safety training and wellness and temperature checks.

“As we all adjust to a new normal, we will continue to provide the easy and efficient store experience that Kohl's customers love, while implementing many new rigorous procedures that prioritize the safety of our associates and customers,” said Michelle Gass, CEO, Kohl’s. “As we reopen and operate in a new environment, I want to thank our associates and customers for their ongoing loyalty and support.”

Specifics on the changes to Kohl’s stores and operations are listed below. 

• Under reduced operating hours, stores will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until further notice.

• The first hour of shopping every Monday, Wednesday and Friday will be dedicated shopping to at-risk individuals, including seniors, those who are pregnant or have underlying health conditions. 

• Signage and floor decals have been placed throughout the store to encourage six feet of social distancing, with a focus on high traffic areas including at customer service and checkout.

• For stores that have two or more entrances, one entrance has been closed and each store will operate with a single point of entry to the store.

• An employee greeter will be positioned at the store entry with the sole role of welcoming customers, sanitizing carts between each use and limiting occupancy, as appropriate.

• In-aisle fixturing has been removed to increase space for customers to pass through the aisles in line with social distancing guidelines.

• Protective barriers have been installed at all registers and will offer touchless payment through the Kohl’s app to make the checkout experience as contactless as possible.

• Checkout lanes will be cleaned by an associate after each customer transaction, including the sanitation of the pin pad and counter.

• Hand sanitizer will be available at each register and throughout the store for customer use.

• Fitting rooms will be closed until further notice and the use of beauty testers has been suspended to reduce and minimize touchpoints.

• Kohl’s has made adjustments to the returns process to minimize contact between the customer and associate. Amazon Returns will be located in a separate location in the store.

• Regular cleaning, including all restrooms, entrances and all customer touchpoints, will be done during all operating hours by a third-party cleaning service.

• Limited-contact drive-up service at most stores for buy online, pick up in-store and ship to store orders will continue.

Kohl’s new employee measures are below.

• In addition to wearing gloves and masks, Kohl’s employees will participate in mandatory wellness and temperature checks before their shifts. Any worker who has a temperature or exhibits other common COVID-19 symptoms will be asked to return home and seek medical attention.

• The number of employees in the store at one time has been reduced, with their location in the store adjusted as necessary to follow social distancing guidelines.

• Breakrooms, training rooms and offices have been rearranged to ensure proper social distancing.

• Several employee sanitation stations have been set up to provide easy access to hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies.

• All employees will undergo health and safety training on new policies and procedures before returning to work.

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