Gap, GM announce plans to reopen business

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May 6 (UPI) — Gap Inc. and General Motors both announced Wednesday they plan to resume some operations before the end of the month as states begin easing restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The San Francisco-based company said it plans to begin reopening stores in Texas, where non-essential retail stores were allowed to start opening their doors to limited capacity over the weekend. Stores in other states will reopen before the end of the month.

The company shuttered some 800 Gap, Old Navy, Athlete, Banana Republic, Janie and Jack, and Intermix clothing stores over the past two months as states implemented restrictions on non-essential businesses.

“In working with industry partners and public officials to define safe shopping practices, we’re eager to begin welcoming our teams and customers back to our stores, and confident in our ability to safely scale North America openings over the coming months in line with local guidelines,” Gap CEO Sonia Syngal said.

Gap said to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, it will implement “rigorous” cleaning routines in each store, close fitting rooms and restrooms, and provide customers with hand sanitizer. Each employee also will receive reusable face masks to wear during their shifts, and will be protected by plexiglass health guards in front of every register.

Customers will be encouraged to wear face coverings and observe social distancing guidelines. There will be limited hours and a reduced flow of customers.

In manufacturing, General Motors announced Wednesday it plans to begin reopening some plants after reporting a profit for the first three months of the year, despite the economic impact of the pandemic. U.S. and Canadian plants will reopen May 18.

The Detroit-based company said it was working with unions and public health officials to ensure working conditions at the reopened plants were safe for returning employees.

“These procedures meet or exceed [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and [World Health Organization] guidelines, and are designed to keep people safe when they arrive, while they work and as they leave the facility,” GM said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Walt Disney Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV also announced plans to reopen in the coming weeks.

Closures related to the coronavirus pandemic have led to some 30 million unemployment claims in the past six weeks and less consumer spending.

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