Rustan’s department store will open its doors again on June 5 after having been shut down along with the rest of the metropolis during the strict COVID-19 quarantine which has run since mid-March. With the relaxation of the protocols, the store has been allowed to open, albeit under stringent health and safety protocols.

“Our goal for the past 70 years has always been to serve the community with great service and to provide a safe environment that feels like home. In this new chapter, we are committed to the idea of ‘One Home, One Hope’ to strengthen our solidarity with our countrymen as we help uplift the society’s mindset to look forward to brighter days. As an establishment that has been a second home for many shoppers, we will stay dedicated in implementing thorough safety protocols to ensure that our employees and shoppers are protected and can visit us with ease of mind,” Zenaida R. Tantoco, Rustans’ Chairman and CEO, was quoted as saying in a release.

Following the protocols under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) guidelines, all Rustan’s employees will go through rapid testing before returning to work and only those with a negative result shall be permitted to enter the store premises; employees will be required to change into a clean set of clothes and shoes before entering store premises; store premises will undergo daily intensive cleaning and disinfection at the start and end of each day, and air condition ducts will be cleaned regularly; janitors will clean and wipe the moving rails of escalators on a regular basis, along with high-touch areas like door knobs and elevator buttons; and the interior of elevators will be cleaned by the staff assigned inside.

When it comes to customers, the following specific protocols will be followed: customers’ temperature will be checked before entry and those whose temperature is above 37.7C will be politely advised to go home or see a physician, and customers will have to step on disinfectant floor mats before entry. There will be automatic hand sanitizers and complimentary face masks at the security/entrance areas of the store. One mask per customer will be provided for those not wearing any. Electric fans will be installed at all mall entrances as added protection against the virus. There will be continuous reminders to employees and customers of all health and safety habits through in-store signages and animation screens. Bathroom doors will be kept open to avoid the touching of doorknobs.

Employees and customers should observe proper queuing and physical distancing of at least one meter and stand on distancing marks. Customers and employees must remain five steps apart when using the escalator — escalators will be marked accordingly. Only four people can ride the elevator, and they must stand on the marks provided and face opposite directions.

Contactless payment shall be encouraged for customers using Scan-to-Pay and Tap-and-Go card payments. For payments made by cash or credit card, the cashiers will provide a money tray and request the customer place the cash, credit or gift cards on the tray. After each transaction, all FSP, Beauty Addict, loyalty cards, credit cards, and Rustan’s EGC will be sprayed with alcohol, dried on a cloth and returned to the customer. Packages of merchandise will be sprayed by the cashier or sales personnel with disinfectant in clear view of the customer before handing over the purchased items. Sneeze guards will be installed at the cashier areas.

In addition to all of this, the fitting rooms will be disinfected after each use, and the packaging of merchandise will be disinfected by receiving personnel upon receipt in store and before issuing to the customer. Store personnel will remind customers who will fit clothes to place the items in a designated “For Sanitation” box. After 24 hours, the clothes will be steamed and returned to the display or stored in the stockroom. Customers will be requested to wear ankle socks before fitting shoes (socks will be provided accordingly). Trial and sampling of beauty products will not be allowed.

Rustan’s Makati and Shangri-La will be open daily starting June 5 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the Alabang branch will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Rustan’s Gateway and Cebu will open on June 12 with daily operating hours of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m..