America's largest U.S. beauty retailer, Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:ULTA), announced Thursday morning that on Monday next week, it will begin reopening its stores in select locations in Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
Ulta first closed down its physical stores back in late March, citing the rapidly spreading coronavirus as its reason. Over the past few weeks, the company has cautiously moved to open up again, first instituting "curbside pickup" of orders placed online in more than 700 of its stores. Now, it's taking the next step: admitting customers back into the store again.
To ensure customer safety, the company says all of its associates will wear face coverings in the store, and all customers should, too. In stores that resume providing hair salon services, associates will also wear gloves. Signs and floor decals will also be prominently displayed to encourage customers to maintain social distancing. In addition, other measures that have been popping up elsewhere in retail the past few weeks -- limits on occupancy in a given store, provision of free hand sanitizer, protective barriers between customer and cash register attendant, and "options for contactless payment" -- will also be instituted.
Of course, all the safety measures in the world won't help restart Ulta's business if it can't get customers back in the stores. To encourage customers to come back, the company will be offering half-price haircuts and stylings for healthcare workers in the first month after stores reopening.
Ulta Beauty stock is up 2.3% in the first few minutes of Thursday trading in response to the news.