NRF releases blueprint for safety tips during store re-openings

Recommended statewide rules for retail stores after social isolation lockdown ends

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Photo credit: Adam Nieścioruk/Unsplash

urbside pickup has increased tremendously while nationwide shoppers are figuring out a healthy balance of shopping efficiently, fast and safely. While the uptick in curbside shopping has risen to 208 percent between April 1–20, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the National Retail Federation (NRF) released a Blueprint for Shopping Safe report yesterday, which outlines a phased-in approach as more stores re-open in the coming months. It’s largely up to each state to decide when it will re-open, and state government will also be responsible for making sure retailers follow any of these suggested retail safety policies.

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Photo credit: Binyamin Mellish/Pexels

Phase 1: Contactless curbside pickup, in-home delivery and e-commerce are permitted.

In addition to parking lot pickups, it’s recommended that states and jurisdictions allow consistent, complete re-opening of distribution centers and warehouses. But retailers should make sure hand sanitizing, hygiene and social distancing guidelines are followed from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Photo credit: Daniel Lee/Unsplash

Phase 2: Retailers may incorporate safer shopping expectations when interacting with the public.

At retail chains like Food4Less (in Evanston, Illinois), shoppers already cannot enter without a face mask. Additional essential retailers (and eventually non-essential retailers) are also posting signage for customers and employees to frequently wash their hands, use face masks and stay home if ill.

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Photo credit: Create Her Stock

Other suggested rules for employment managers and employees include:

  • Create workspaces in which employees can work 6 feet apart.
  • Cafeteria furniture should be rearranged to help employees safely take breaks.
  • Spread out in-person meetings so no more than 10 employees are in attendance at the same time and have room to stand 6 feet apart.
  • Six-foot training stations (or virtual and audio training) should be made available for new hires.
  • Avoid shared work equipment if not absolutely necessary (ex. colleagues’ smartphones, desks, workstations, conference rooms, radios, handhelds/wearables, tools).
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Photo credit: Create Her Stock

Additionally, whether new hires or friendly colleagues, the handshake is definitely out of the question for now whether in retail for in-home delivery and installation. Workers within these categories should have:

  • Face masks and gloves used for in-home delivery (ex. computer or TV installation from electronics stores)
  • Disinfectant carried by workers for any surfaces, tools and supplies that will regularly be touched

While approximately 10,000 Internal Revenue Service workers have been told that they must return to work by Mon., May 4 — and are required to bring their own face masks — RILA and NRF recommends that retailers are responsible for keeping sanitization materials on hand for their workers, including:

  • Hand soap
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sanitizing wipes for handhelds, wearables, radios, scanners
  • Gloves

While retail stores already had a regular schedule to follow when it came to bathroom cleaning, high-touch areas are recommended for even more cleaning. This includes fitting rooms, doors, PIN pads, restrooms and lobby (common) areas.

Some of these cleaning practices are already being implemented in essential stores such as Target, Whole Foods Market, Walmart, Food4Less (Kroger) and more. However, non-essential retailers may have some quick catching-up to do in order to re-open and make both returning employees and customers feel safe when they return, too.

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