Finally, on May 18th, shops started to open up again in Italy. The country will have to learn to live with the new health and hygiene rules that will reduce the risk of infection in public spaces, by constantly sanitizing spaces and surfaces. But retailers are still trying to find a solution to a problem that comes with the clothes displayed in their shops, as well as the constant in and out in the changing rooms. Clothes could become a carrier of the virus and sanitizing techniques are more difficult to apply in this situation. Any kind of chemical or alcohol sanitizer are excluded as they could ruin the garments and will take too long. Retailers thought about two possible solutions: ozone or UV rays.
Ozone is a gas that acts well in indoor spaces, so it could work for any kind of store. They could implement ozone sanitizers with a short cycle, that would disinfect the changing rooms in 15 minutes, or an ozone cabin. The problem is that this solution is expensive. For example, just one ozone cabin cost 3000 euros and not many activities can afford it.
Another sanitation technique that could be used by retailers is UV rays. The ultraviolet light of the sun is composed of three types of rays. Two of them, UVA and UVB, are the ones that we protect from with solar creme, while the UVC rays are much stronger and dangerous, and are filtered throughout the atmosphere. They can alter the genetics of any living creature, virus and humans included. Only professionals can apply this technique because just a few seconds of direct exposure to UVC rays and it could cause serious eye and skin damages. Any kind of malfunction or incorrect use could translate into serious risks for the customers and employees.
Two possible solutions but that require expensive equipment, trained and adequately protected employees, and many retailers are struggling. Even a giant of the fast fashion industry like H&M had to close 7 stores only in Italy leaving unemployed 145 people.