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Kohl's already opened four stores in Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah on Monday. It expects to open about 25 percent of its U.S. stores enhanced safety and cleanliness measures by next week in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Texas, Florida and Tennessee, the company said in a press release.
"We are pleased to begin welcoming our customers back to Kohl's," Kohl's CEO Michelle Gass, said in a statement. "As we all adjust to a new normal, we will continue to provide the easy and efficient store experience that Kohl's customers love, while implementing many new rigorous procedures that prioritize the safety of our associates and customers."
Gass added that the company is "taking an informed, measured approach based on a number of factors to reopen our stores on a phased timeline."
The department store will also continue its limited-contact drive-in service that it launched in early April for customers who order goods online, according to the release.
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Ulta Beauty is expecting to reopen 180 select store locations starting in Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Utah with enhanced safety measures while keeping its curbside pickup service that is available in 700 locations.
"Throughout the last few months, we have navigated the fluid dynamics of COVID-19 with the safety of our guests and associates at the heart of every decision we have made. That commitment to safety has guided our thoughtful, phased approach to reopening," Ulta CEO Mary Dillon said in a statement.
She added that Ulta's focus "has been on how to reopen safely – not just when" throughout the company's "preparation and planning" to confidently "welcome guests and associates back to Ulta Beauty.”
Both Ulta and Kohl's are requiring associates to wear masks, though Ulta is also advising customers to do the same. Both stores also plan to enforce social-distancing guidelines and increased in-store cleaning efforts. Ulta is not offering product testers in its stores, and Kohl's has closed its dressing rooms. Kohl's has installed barriers, is offering touchless payment and is providing hand sanitizer at every cash register.
The decisions from the two major stores highlight efforts to return to life before COVID-19 as the virus curve starts to flatten across the U.S. and states ease lockdowns.