What to Expect in Texas When Stores Closed Due to the Coronavirus Begin Retail-to-Go Services on Friday

The first phase of Texas Governor Greg Abbott's plan to reopen his state's economy will happen Friday when previously closed retailers begin offering retail-to-go and curbside services to their customers.

The curbside services, which have been offered by grocery store and retail chains such as HEB, Kroger, and Walmart for nearly a year, have been a lifesaver that has helped keep store aisles clear of customers and promote social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even liquor store chains like Spec's, which were allowed to stay open, have offered some sort of curbside service to customers since the state's stay-at-home order went into effect last month.

But the retail-to-go option is designed to help those businesses that have been closed due the COVID-19 pandemic and were deemed non-essential.

Many small retail businesses, especially those that rely on foot traffic or face-to-face contact, were forced to make adjustments or close their doors after Abbott and a number of local political leaders issued stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Raul Rodriguez, who owns Lizcano Bridal Shop in Dallas, told the Dallas/Fort Worth CBS affiliate that they have relied solely on online advertisements to pique the interests of shoppers looking for that must-have wedding gown.

"It'd be nice if they just want to buy it and curbside service, go out there and take it to them," Rodriguez said.

Stacy Winegar, who owns and operates Lions & Tigers & Toys in south Austin, has struggled along with other businesses since they had to close their doors and sees the retail-to-go option as a lifesaver.

"We've had zero sales since we had to close," Winegar told the Austin American-Statesman. "It's been tough, but we are excited for curbside delivery. We have loyal customers who have been checking in with us, and now we can tell them we're open for business again."

Abbott was among several state leaders who unveiled plans to reopen their local economies on April 17, a day after meeting with President Donald Trump in a video conference to discuss federal guidelines related to reopening the U.S. economy.

The first step in Texas happened Monday with the reopening of state parks to patrons who are encouraged to continue practicing social distancing, wear face coverings in the parks, and to have no more than five in their party.

Abbott's retail-to-go plan employees are still required to practice social distancing and wear face coverings when dealing with customers.

Business are also required to ensure their employees are properly trained on hygiene and sterilization if they are offering curbside pickup services.

Retailers can also accept online payments and provide home deliveries as part of the retail-to-go plan.

Of course, many retailers had already gotten creative ahead of getting the green light from Abbott and employed their own form of curbside shopping.

Electronics giant Best Buy set up roped aisles outside their store in New Braunfels, with a single masked employee at a table to assist with merchandise pickup ordered online, or to help answer questions on products inside the store customers wanted to purchase.

Gea Lopez, who owns Bishop Arts barbershop in Dallas that had been closed since March, has kept her stylists in the loop about a possible reopening in the coming weeks.

Since she can't reopen yet, Lopez has shifted gears and partnered with a local custom T-shirt designer. She hopes to sell some shirts online at her shop for $25 each this week.

"We're fighting back," Lopez told the Dallas/Fort Worth CBS affiliate. "We're going​ to get through this and we're going to make it."​

Greg Abbott
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 29: During a press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas Governor Greg Abbott holds a new executive order, Sunday, March 29, 2020. He also announced the US Army Corps of Engineers and the state are putting up a 250-bed field hospital at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas. The space can expand to nearly 1,400 beds. Joining him are U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Brigadier General Paul Owen (left) and Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd (behind). Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images/Getty