My retail store was closed for around three months due to Covid-19. When we finally reopened, us employees received very thorough training for how to meet health and safety regulations, as well as how to make our customers feel comfortable shopping with us. We anticipated that many customers may feel nervous about being in a public space again, so we were specifically trained on how to sell our product without requiring the customers to touch products themselves. We anticipated that customers that would be anxious and would be keeping a large distance between themselves and the employees.
We could not have been more wrong.
When our store reopened, most customers acted as though there was not a pandemic. Sure, everyone was now wearing a mask, but otherwise it was business as usual. People continue to touch surfaces and run their fingers all over our clothing. People attempt to try products over their own clothes in response to discovering that our change rooms are closed. Customers approach me for help and stand so close to me that I must take a step back and remind them to keep their distance. People attempt to rush past me to enter the store without hearing the safety protocols or even sanitizing their hands.
Is the fear of Covid-19 gone? Or is it only those who choose to brave the mall that have lost sight of what is happening around us? Is my experience from the past few months similar or different to the experiences of employees at other stores? These questions run through my mind daily as I observe people conducting themselves almost too normally. I suppose all I can do for now is keep myself safe, guide others on safety protocols, and observe the steady rise of impatience coming from our customers.