Open for Business - A Blueprint for Shopping Safe


America’s retailers have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, with grocers, pharmacies, and other retailers working hard to make sure every family has what they need as America has stayed home. However, many retailers were required to shut down storefronts throughout the country, furloughing over one million workers in order to protect our communities and stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

With a focus on the health and wellness of both our employees and our customers, now is the time to prepare for the entire retail sector to safely re-open. Retailers have been learning from each other throughout this crisis, sharing leading practices and protocols to keep stores clean and sanitized, and keeping customers and employees as safe as possible. As an industry, we stand ready to assist governors and mayors with the important task of safely re-opening our Main Streets and storefronts again, with an underlying commitment to helping all families Shop Safe.

The key to this approach is adopting a blueprint that puts in place uniform statewide rules of operations that will accomplish three key objectives: (1) Protect our communities (2) Allow for the safe reopening of retail and (3) Establish clear expectations for employees and customers. We will endeavor to update these recommendations as conditions change or if guidance from the CDC leads to the adoption of new protocols.

3 Steps to Shop Safe

A Blueprint for Shopping Safe

A Blueprint for Shopping Safe

View Blueprint
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Phase 1: Allow E-commerce, Contactless Pickup & In-Home Delivery 

A fully functioning supply chain with all distribution centers operational is crucial for retailers to meet the needs of customers. In addition to directing goods to store shelves, distribution centers are vital to e-commerce and other contactless forms of shopping.

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Phase 2: Re-open Stores to the Public, with Social Distancing Protocols & Reduced Occupancy

During this phase, retailers open additional stores to the public with robust leading health and safety protocols in place to protect customers and employees and to mitigate the spread of the virus so COVID-19 does not revert.

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Phase 3: Establish Protection, Then Lift All Restrictions

During this final phase, retailers will have discretion to remove COVID-related operational protocols except for those related to enhanced sanitization and screening practices.

 

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Recommended Protocols


The key to this approach is adopting a blueprint that puts in place uniform statewide rules of operations. The protocols we propose were developed in accordance with CDC guidelines and benchmarking between leading retailers who have shared their operational experiences over the past six weeks.

Recommended Protocols for Retail Employees and Customers (Phase 1 & 2)

Retailers encourage state governments to rely on the CDC, state health departments, and other health experts to determine when to move to Phase 2.

 

Social Distancing – Employees

  • Ensure employees stay 6 feet apart whenever practical.
  • Adjust seating in break rooms, cafeterias, and other common areas to reflect social distancing practices.
  • Prohibit gatherings or meetings of employees of 10 or more during working hours, permit employees to take breaks and lunch outside, in their office or personal workspace, or in such other areas where proper social distancing is attainable.
  • Restrict interaction between employees and outside visitors or truck drivers; implement touchless receiving practices if possible.
  • Adjust training/onboarding practices to limit number of people involved and allow for 6 foot spacing; use virtual/video/audio training when possible.
  • Discourage employees from using colleagues’ phones, desks, workstations, radios, handhelds/wearables, or other work tools and equipment.
  • Prohibit handshaking and other unnecessary person to person contact in the workplace.

Special Protocols for Home Delivery/Installation Employee

  • Wear protective face coverings and gloves during in-home delivery and/or installation services.
  • Ensure proper social distancing between employee and customer.
  • Clean and disinfect any surfaces which will be regularly contacted throughout the duration of any installation.
  • When delivery/installation is complete, clean and disinfect all surfaces which were contacted throughout installation.
  • Clean and disinfect any tools or supplies used throughout delivery/installation upon leaving the home.

Social Distancing – Customers (Phase 2)

  • Occupancy limits should be determined by social distancing goals and tied to a clear and familiar standard, such as no more than 50% of the stated maximum store capacity according to the National Fire Code, or no more than 5 customers per 1000 square feet of shopping space.  
  • Place conspicuous signage at entrances and throughout the store alerting staff and customers to the required occupancy limits, six feet of physical distance, and policy on face covering.
  • Establish hours of operation, wherever possible, that permit access solely to high-risk individuals, as defined by the CDC.
  • Demarcate six feet of spacing in check-out lines to demonstrate appropriate spacing for social distancing.
  • Ensure six feet of distance between customers and cashiers and baggers, except at the moment of payment and/or exchange of goods.
  • Arrange for contactless pay options, pickup, and/or delivery of goods wherever practical. 

Hygiene

  • Require infection control practices, such as regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and proper tissue usage and disposal.
  • Encourage employees to engage in repeated handwashing/sanitization throughout the workday.
  • Provide sanitization materials, such as hand soap, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes to employees.
  • Require the use of gloves and regularly sanitize community technology and equipment such as POS, cash registers, copy machines, etc.

Sanitization

  • Require frequent sanitization of high-touch areas like restrooms, fitting rooms, doors, PIN pads, and common areas.
  • Ensure operating hours allow downtime between shifts for thorough cleaning.
  • Provide sanitization materials, such as sanitizing wipes, to employees to clean handhelds/wearables, scanners, radios, or other work tools and equipment before/after use.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch areas routinely, particularly in spaces that are accessible to staff, customers, and suppliers.
  • Ensure cleaning procedures following a known or potential exposure in a facility comply with CDC recommendations.
  • Have deep cleaning response plan in place, in the event of an associate(s) testing positive.
  • Follow CDC guidance related to returned merchandise before returning items to the sales floor.

Protective Face Covering

  • Require workers, visiting contractors, drivers, and strongly encourage customers, to wear face coverings while on the premises.
  • Post signage for customers to understand the importance of wearing face coverings.
  • PSAs from law enforcement urging consumers to act responsibly and utilize face coverings—it should not be the responsibility of local retailers to enforce.

Health Screening

  • Encourage employees to self-evaluate (before they arrive for shifts) for signs of illness (such as a fever over 100.4, cough, or shortness of breath).
  • Require associates who exhibit signs of illness not to report to work and encourage them to seek medical attention prior to returning.

Recommended Protocols for Retailers for Phase 3

The proposed retail health and safety protocols are designed to maintain sanitization while returning operations to the new normal. Consistent with health expert guidance, we urge governors to suspend or relax all social distancing requirements at this time.


Sanitization

  • Provide sanitization materials, such as hand soap, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes to staff.
  • Frequent sanitization of high-touch areas like restrooms, breakrooms, credit card machines, keypads, counters, and shopping carts.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch areas routinely, particularly in spaces that are accessible to staff, customers, and suppliers, and ensure cleaning procedures following a known or potential exposure in a facility are in compliance with CDC recommendations.

Employee Guidelines

  • Require infection control practices, such as regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and proper tissue usage and disposal.
  • Encourage employees to frequently handwash/sanitize throughout the workday.
  • Separate employees who become sick during the day and send home.
  • Encourage employees to not come to work if not feeling well.

COVID-19 Resources for Retailers

Store Operations COVID-19 Resource Library

Strategies on broad range of protocols, from social distancing, metering, sanitization, and more. (Members-only content. Please log-in to access).

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State and Local Resources for COVID-19 and Protests

View state and local response, curfews, reopening plans, DHS situation reports and more!

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COVID-19 Resources for Retailers

RILA’s coronavirus resources for retailers provide up-to-date information on the developments around COVID-19 for the retail industry and community.

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