Reopen News: NYC luxury retailers welcome customers again, with some changes

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Some of the most famous luxury brand stores in the country opened their doors once again for the first time in three months Wednesday, and shoppers will see big changes.

Saks Fifth Avenue employees are back on the job after being furloughed.

"This marks our last store to reopen," Senior VP of Stores John Antonini said. "So now, every one of our Saks Fifth Avenue stores across the country are now reopened today."

Antonini would not comment on how many of their 1,500 workers were returning for the reopening, but any progress is good news.

The company had encased their Manhattan flagship location in barbed wire and plywood with guards stationed outside during rampant citywide looting during protests over the death of George Floyd.

"We have this crown jewel of an asset that we took action to protect," he said.

Now, the boards are gone and customers will be greeted with a welcome message in the windows.

Saks says customers can expect to be accompanied by an associate as they shop to maintain social distancing, and there is also extra cleaning including ultraviolet light to clean hand rails.

There's also hand sanitizer stations, temperature checks, and social distancing markers.

"We will have an extremely safe and clean environment for customers who are ready to shop in store again," Antonini said. "But if you're not, we've added a ton of new virtual services that will allow you to shop at home or in your apartment, however you'd like."

Nordstrom also reopened Wednesday, while Macy's Herald Square opened its doors Monday.

The return of retail means thousands of workers can finally earn a paycheck again.

"So much going on that really, really will help us come out of this crisis and move forward, get people back their livelihood," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "Look, Phase 1 was a big deal, but Phase 2 is really a giant step for this city. This is where most of our economy is."

Still, the lack of tourism will hurt. Saks estimates about a third of its sales comes from tourists.

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