Retail guidelines to add to your reopening plan

Posted in Business

Man wearing face mask hangs open sign on store window

This article is part of a series Grange Insurance is creating to help business owners improve safety while reopening their businesses during COVID-19.

No matter what area of retail you work in, you need a retail reopening plan that outlines steps to keep your customers and employees safe during coronavirus. From social distancing shopping measures to sanitary protocols for returns, there are many working parts to address while reopening stores during COVID-19.

As you outline your plan, look for retail reopening guidelines from the experts at your local level up to the global level, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). These organizations can help you prioritize the best actions you can take before opening your store and throughout your workday.

Guidelines for reopening stores

Start with a detailed plan for customers and employees to follow to keep their health and safety a top priority. According to the CDC and AIHA, components of your retail reopening plan should include:

  • Safety measures for employees before each shift, such as recording their temperature either at home or before entering the store.
  • Personal hygiene protocols for employees like handwashing, sanitizing shared surfaces and wearing face coverings.
  • Social distancing markers, like tape or decals, on the floor throughout the store including checkout line markers that are six feet apart and one-way aisles to reduce people passing each other in close proximity.
  • A merchandising strategy with social distancing in mind. Separate shelving and limit items on display with backstock for different colors and sizes.
  • A returns strategy for accepting and storing returned items.

AIHA recommends sharing your reopening plans with employees and customers via email and social media. Educate customers on the precautions you’re taking to give them a safer shopping experience. You can also take this opportunity to promote alternative shopping methods, such as online shopping or contactless curbside pick-up, for those looking for a lower risk shopping experience.

Additionally, continue to monitor local and state guidelines, the CDC, AIHA and other sources you use for coronavirus prevention information. As the experts update their information, you should also update your retail reopening plan where it’s necessary.

Prioritize customer safety inside your store

Here are some steps you can take to help protect your customers and minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 at your store:

  • Limit the number of occupants in the store at any given time.
  • Place a trained greeter at the front of the store to answer questions and encourage customers to partake in social distancing practices while they shop.
  • Limit purchases to card-only transactions to reduce cash handling.
  • Sanitize shared surfaces at the register between customers.
  • Install a “sneeze guard” between employees and customers at each checkout line.

Reopening stores during COVID-19 can be a challenge but adding protective measures like these will help decrease the spread of the virus. The more detailed you can be in your guidelines for reopening, the more peace of mind you can offer your customers.

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Keep your retail employees safe

Give employees the training and tools they need to stay safe and effectively sanitize their work environments during each shift. These practices may include:

  • Providing hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol at every workstation, register, break room and shared employee space.
  • Training employees on adequate handwashing practices or posting signage in bathrooms with best practices for handwashing techniques.
  • Providing no-touch disposals in bathrooms and break rooms.
  • Cleaning bathrooms, break rooms and other shared rooms frequently.
  • Staggering work shifts to limit the number of employees in the store at any given time.
  • Encouraging employees to stay home when they feel sick.
  • Taking employees’ temperatures before they enter the store for a shift.

- American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

This article is for informational and suggestion purposes only. If you have questions about your Grange business insurance coverage, please speak with your independent insurance agent.

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