WATERLOO -- Shopping for back-to-school clothes at local stores looks a little different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Children's Marketplace, a consignment store in Waterloo, has closed its fitting rooms. The owner said it's to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"We don't have change rooms right now, but we are allowing refunds," owner Shannon Thiessen said.

Before returned or consigned items head onto the sales floor, they're put in isolation.

"We set it aside for a couple of days before we bring it out to price it," Thiessen said. "We spray everything down."

Infection disease specialist Dr. Matthew Oughton said "quarantining" the clothes is a safe and sure way to deactivate the virus.

"Three days is sufficient, and maybe even more than sufficient," Dr. Oughton said.

Customers at Children's Marketplace say they appreciate the safety precautions.

"It's not like they're just bringing it in right away, they are doing the precautions and stuff, which is awesome," shopper Shelley Lizun said.

Harmony by Earthwinds in Waterloo is also isolating returned items.

"[There's] a little bin behind the counter that all items go into and they're steam thoroughly," manager Christine Coleman said.

Dr. Oughton said COVID-19 isn't very resilient, especially under high heat.

"Steaming would probably be something that would fairly quickly inactivate coronavirus," he said.

He added it's important for shoppers to follow safety guidelines while looking for clothes.

"Physical distancing, that is good hygiene, and wearing a mask," Dr. Oughton said.

Children's Marketplace is also providing sanitizer and limiting the number of people allowed in the store at one time.