RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Stores in Carytown are open and eagerly accepting holiday shoppers but with a few changes due to COVID-19 restrictions this year. Coronavirus cases are surging in the state and local businesses are doing everything they can to keep shoppers safe.
Since just yesterday there have been over 4,000 new coronavirus cases in the Commonwealth.
New COVID-19 restrictions will go into effect in Virginia on Monday but they will not directly affect retail businesses which already are following a specific set of guidelines. In stores around the state, social distancing signs, hand sanitizer stations, free masks and store capacity limits have all become common practice.
One thing that will change for people strolling from store to store is that they will need to wear a mask when social distancing isn’t possible outdoors. Many Carytown shoppers out today were already wearing their masks outside.
All of these precautions become even more crucial this month as people are heading out to stores to do their holiday shopping.
Jim Bland from Plan 9 Records says he wants his customers to feel safe while buying their vinyl records.
“Before we closed, we just did curbside but since things have opened up, we have been limiting to 10 people in the store” Bland said. “It’s not the crowds it used to be, we are doing more online business and people are buying more ahead of time.”
Other local business keeping COVID-19 restrictions in mind right now is For the Love of Chocolate, just down the road from Plan 9. Elizabeth Vranas and her husband were long time fans of the shop and jumped on the opportunity to become its owners in August when it went up for sale.
Vranas says starting as early as November they began to see plenty of Christmas shoppers. People browsing the chocolates at the store are encouraged to remain distant from each other and not directly handle the chocolates.
“They get a sanitized scoop to get the bulk, we ask them to wear a glove to lift the lid, and of course we encourage people to stay apart” Vranas said. “Most people are smart enough to where they do it on their own.”
Holidays treats will seem all the more sweet to many families who just want something to look forward to this year.
“I think people just want normalcy. They just want to feel normal,” Vranas said. “Christmas season started early this year for everybody. Everybody put up their trees early, shopped early. They just want normal.”