The Phoenix market has officially opened for business, with all retailers allowed to serve customers. While some retailers have decided to stay closed or offer only limited service by their own choice, most are completely open and actually seeing activity from consumers. While there are no specific laws or restrictions in terms of safety, most employers are requiring social distancing, limiting capacity and suggesting protective gear.
“Some restaurants and some retailers are taking a slower approach and have not re-opened yet,” Trenton McCullough with Levrose tells GlobeSt.com. “The ones that have reopened are reducing the maximum occupancy to 50%. Most employees of these businesses are also taking extra measures to careful to get everyone to feel as comfortable as possible. That includes implementing six-feet of social distancing and wearing masks. Ultimately, we are seeing retailers reopen.”
While most retailers have opened, some are still shuttered indefinitely. Dense, enclosed locations like movie theaters remain closed. “You are going to see a lag with denser retailers, like gyms and movie theaters,” says McCullough. “There are questions about how to implement some of these policies.” Gyms, for example, have turned to outdoor spaces, but are still limited in the service and the equipment that they can provide. Additionally, outdoor workouts, particularly in markets like Phoenix, will be challenging in the summer.
For now, retailers are capitalized to survive through limited capacity restrictions because PPP funding and other small business loans have been funded. However, that money will likely run dry by the end of the second quarter. “It is going to be difficult to tell how groups will handle reduced occupancy, and we will probably need to get into the third quarter or the end of the year to find out,” says McCullough. “For now, a lot of retailers have received PPP funding and they are utilizing that. When that funding is exhausted, it will be a true testament to whether these retailers are going to be able to move forward. It is still a little early, and I think we are going to see a shift in how retail moves forward.”
Most of the changes, however, are going to be temporary, even if for the mid-term. Eventually, McCullough believes the market will return to our standard sense of normal. “I think this is going to be temporary until we get a vaccine and we can move comfortable enough to move forward, but I think that it is going to be 12 to 18 months before we get back to normal,” says McCullough. “This has been scary, and I think that there will be lightly treading water moving forward. I do think that we will get back to a social atmosphere in the long term.”