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(11 Jun 2020) New York City is gradually reopening stores previously deemed nonessential in a turning point in the three-month-long crisis.
Scarred by the deadliest coronavirus outbreak in the nation, and with the virus in check — at least for now — retailers were cleared to reopen for delivery and curbside pickup, though customers cannot yet browse inside.
At Saks Fifth Avenue along the city’s Tony avenue of the same name, shoppers lined up to return merchandise bought before COVID-19 closed the store.
Many in line thought the soft opening was going well.
“I came out to return a few items, and I think that the process right now is easy,” customer Ebonie Nichols said.
As the pressure on hospitals has eased, the financial pressure on merchants has mounted. Opening for many is an act of desperation.
“It’s about time and it’s better than nothing,” Eleanor Kress, who brought in her fur coat for storage, said.
Kress met a personal shopper outside the store, but admits preferring to roam around the store on her own.
Kress understands that will not be an option for the foreseeable future. She walked away having bought a pair of shorts that will be shipped to her house.
The cautious return to business is intended to prevent a resurgence of the coronavirus, which has killed at least 22,000 people in the city.
While the number of new infections has dropped dramatically, it has not stopped entirely. Through the end of last week, hundreds of people were continuing to test positive each day.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
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