SafetyCulture Summit 2020

Retail Store Reopening Checklists

An easy-to-use tool to ensure a safe return to operations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

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Published August 4th, 2020

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.

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.


Juhlian Pimping

SafetyCulture Staff Writer

Juhlian Pimping has been writing about safety and quality topics for SafetyCulture since 2018. Before writing for SafetyCulture full-time, Juhlian worked in customer service and wrote for an Australian RTO.