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What will shopping look like during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Last Updated May 5, 2020 at 7:59 am MDT

Sings are posted in front of several businesses in downtown Calgary saying they're closed because of COVID-19. (PHOTO: Saif Kaisar, 660 NEWS)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Calgarians could see some retailers open up next week as part of the province’s re-launch plan. But the question being asked is, how do you shop safely during a pandemic?

Aisles will need to be set up to give customers more space to follow physical distancing measures and stores that can’t move stuff around should set up one-way paths according to Dr. Lisa Byrski, a frontline health care worker.

She said shopping will be different than usual, and businesses need to keep employees and customers safe.

“We have to assume that everything that’s in the public environment is contaminated with this virus. Until we completely eradicate this virus or this virus is pressured to mutate into a form where it’s more like the common cold and it becomes less of a health hazard to anyone.”

RELATED: City, businesses react to province’s re-launch strategy for economy

Byrski added stores will need to set up hand washing stations for customers and make sanitizer readily available.

She explains the virus can last between six hours and four days on certain surfaces, so it may be tricky for some stores.

“They might have to change how they display goods. No more having everything crammed into one rack, maybe they display so people can see things a lot easier.”

When it comes to items being returned, stores may need to quarantine those particular items depending on what they are to avoid spreading the virus.

“It can last six to 12 hours on clothes, up to 24 hours on paper, two to four days on plastics and metals,” said Byrski.

The Alberta government has tentatively put May 14 as a day when some businesses can reopen as part of its three-point relaunch strategy outlined last week.