King County officially entered Phase 2 on Friday morning—a slightly less restrained step in Washington's Safe Start plan than the modified Phase 1 we entered early this month. That means retailers like Nordstrom can double the number of customers allowed in-store from 15 percent to 30 percent of mass occupancy, with no more time limits on shopping. Thirty minutes, after all, is barely long enough to make it through one clearance aisle in the shoe department.
I’ll repeat myself, in case your eyes are still a bit bleary from months of online shopping: Retailers like Nordstrom. The department store’s downtown Seattle store is opening back up on June 23, the last of the chain’s Washington locations to get the green light since Nordstrom closed all its U.S. and Canada locations in March. (Nordstrom Rack at Westlake Center, right down the street, has been open since June 18, according to the company’s website—implying, correctly, that discounted designer wear is more essential than full-price.)
The experience will be a bit different from the Nordstrom you’re used to. Employees’ temperatures will be checked before each shift, in accordance with state screening policies. The makeup department will be entirely devoid of hands-on lessons in tasteful eyeliner application. Some fitting rooms will be closed, and all will be sanitized after use. Merchandise will get a little break before returning to the floor so any potential coronavirus particles on it won't be an issue when it's tried on next.
Nordstrom joins a few other retailers that have opened up in the area since Phase 2 began, including Anthropologie, Old Navy, REI, and quite a few in U Village. But there are some things you should keep in mind before you head out for a shopping spree. Choose a neutral mask, so it doesn’t clash distastefully with the outfits you try on in the dressing room. Remember to social distance—now is not the time to get involved in a Confessions of a Shopaholic–style brawl over the last pair of Pucci boots.
Oh, and King County’s new coronavirus cases were rising at the beginning of Phase 2. Wear a mask. Stay home (and get tested!) if you have symptoms. And, perhaps, reconsider the virtues of online shopping. By now, you’re a pro.