Published 15 Sep 2021
The Status of Retail
Retailers all over the world continue to suffer from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have been forced to close due to the stay-at-home order, and some have put their employees on forced leave of absence. Once the possibility of reopening is considered, important measures must be taken to protect the health of both workers and customers.
This store reopening checklist helps guide retail store managers and supervisors implement control measures against COVID-19 transmissions. Limit the number of entry and exit points in and out of the store, the number of people allowed inside the store at any given time, and practice social distancing among employees and customers.
Reopening Your Retail Store During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Even if the government allows the reopening of non-essential retails stores, operations cannot resume business as usual practices right out of the gate. Below are some important things to remember as you reopen your retail store amidst and after the COVID-19 pandemic:
COVID-19 infections can be asymptomatic
The first thing retailers and shopkeepers need to keep in mind is that COVID-19 infections can be asymptomatic. With mass testing initiatives still unclear for a majority of the world, one of the major problems that remain is the silent transmission unknowingly being done by asymptomatic carriers. To help with infection prevention, OSHA published guidance for retail workers and employers.
Since it’s nearly impossible to tell an asymptomatic carrier apart from someone who is COVID negative, strict social distancing rules must apply in order to minimize the chances of transmission when you reopen your store. You can limit the number of customers allowed inside the store at any given time to ensure adequate space for social distancing, as well as designate different entrance and exit points if possible. Additionally, you can adopt product delivery services if you don’t already have them so you can make sales while lowering the risk of transmissions.
High touch surfaces must be sanitized often
Most studies tell us that the virus can survive on surfaces for a few hours to several days depending on the material, and the temperature. As shoppers and staff go about their business, the risk of contaminating high touch surfaces such as counters, shelves, door handles, and items becomes higher.
Staff must diligently sanitize these high touch surfaces before opening and after closing; doing a once-over every few hours or so, and more frequently if possible. Sanitizing sprays must be at least 60% alcohol in order to kill off most viruses.
It will take some time before things get back to normal, if at all possible
The global pandemic encouraged brick and mortar stores to adapt to an e-commerce model sooner than some might have wanted. The use of online grocery shopping, for example, more than tripled in the US according to research and the numbers are likely to rise even after quarantines are lifted because of a shift in consumer attitude that has long-term implications.
If possible, retailers would be wise to invest in their online shopping services to boost their sales capability amidst the pandemic, and to future-proof their business as the demand for online shopping continues to rise well after the pandemic is over.
We’ve listed a few retail store reopening checklists to help businesses implement safety measures and lower the risk of transmission during operations.
Disclaimer: Please note that these checklists are hypothetical examples and provide basic information only. They are not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should also seek professional advice to determine if the use of such checklists are permissible in your workplace or jurisdiction.
Featured Retail Store Reopening Checklists
This COVID-19 Safety Assessment Checklist provides a quick questionnaire that aims to categorize "high-risk" and "low-risk" individuals in order to proactively avoid transmissions. Check if individuals have experienced flu-like symptoms in the last 30 days, if they are an essential worker, and if they've recentely travelled internationally.
This COVID-19 checklist was submitted by an iAuditor user in the construction industry. It's a quick questionnaire that covers an individual's recent travel history, contact history with confirmed COVID-19 cases, and if the individual has recently been ill with pneumonia. It aims to filter likely cases from unlikely cases in order to minimize the risk of transmission on site.
BRC-USDAW recommended implementation practices for Non-Food Retail Stores to help manage your employees that are returning to work. A guide for retailers on how to implement UK Government advice based upon recommendations from British Retail Consortium.
A guide for retailers on how to implement UK Government advice based upon BRC Recommended implementation practices for Warehouses and Distribution.
Essential retail business establishments (e.g. grocery stores, pharmacies, drug stores) can use this social distancing plan to create rigorous cleaning practice guidelines and promote safe shopping practices in their facilities. Use this pandemic business planning tool to enable retail store managers to train staff in implementing social distancing measures and use mobile devices to cross-check execution.
This business resumption plan for retail stores can help retail chain operators put measures in place to ensure the safe reopening of their stores. Use this customizable template to help managers inspect store facilities, take photo evidences of completed actions, and assign tasks to store personnel.