Macy's Plans to Reopen More Than 60 Stores in States Relaxing Coronavirus Social Distancing Guidelines

Macy's plans to reopen 68 stores in states that have already started relaxing social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement came on Thursday, the same day Simon Malls confirmed its plans to reopening malls in several states as early as May 1. Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette told analysts and investors that stores in Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas will be reopening on Monday with limited hours.

During the Thursday morning webcast, Gennette said he predicts all 775 Macy's stores will be open again within six weeks, but only if the coronavirus infection rates slow and where local governments allow them to operate, reports CNN. Macy's will go with a phased reopening strategy, as another 50 stores will not open until May 11. "We have a path to get through this and I'm committed to it," Gennette explained.

Macy's will implement many of the changes now familiar to shoppers who have visited supermarkets in recent weeks. Cash registers will have plexiglass sneeze guards added, and employees will be wiping down keypads after each customer uses one, according to documents obtained by CNN. Fewer fitting rooms will be available, and high-traffic areas will be cleaned more frequently. Customers will also have to use a hand sanitizer before trying on watches, and they will not be allowed to try on certain clothing items, like dress shirts and bras. The "spa-like" services will also be unavailable.

On March 30, Macy's furloughed most of its 125,000 employees due to the economic hit caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The company tried other measures, including stopping hiring and spending and drawing down its credit line, but these actions were ultimately not enough, Macy's said, reports CNN. Gennette and the board of directors also stopped receiving salaries. Affected workers are keeping the company's health care plan through at least May.

Earlier this week, Simon Malls' plan to reopen stores leaked to several media outlets, reports USA Today. On Thursday, Simon officially released its plans, which included phased reopenings for 49 properties in Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Indiana and Missouri. The first reopenings started on Friday in Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. More malls in Georgia and Indiana will reopen on Monday, along with malls in Florida, Kansas, Missouri and two in Puerto Rico. The company announced several guidelines for the reopenings, including limiting customer capacity, encouraging social distancing and temporarily closing high-traffic areas. They plan to "thoroughly" sanitize common areas when the malls are closed at the end of each day.