Oct 6, 2020
Shopping Safely
Joe Tacosik | Staff Writer

Taking extra precautions to protect your customers and employees

States and retailers have begun to navigate reopening following the COVID-19 pandemic, and the reality is that this “new normal” may be here to stay for (at least) the foreseeable future. For retailers, this means finding ways to create a shoppable retail environment that is friendly, but safe and clean.

Follow the rules and guidelines put in place by local, state and federal government officials, as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Each state and local municipality is handling the COVID-19 situation differently, and it is important retailers know and follow all local guidelines. To help reduce contact, retailers can:

• Implement social distancing measures.

Install plexiglass at the checkout counter.

• Cash wrap to minimize contact during checkout.

• Mark floors to maintain the proper six fee of distance between shoppers.

• Face masks worn by employees and customers, if required by local mandates.

• Offer masks and gloves at the door to help customers adapt to new policies.

Comprehensive cleaning

Retailers are now tasked with comprehensive cleaning and sanitization plans — including how to handle post-transaction sanitizing and how to properly deep-clean the store at closing. Comprehensive cleaning measures should be in addition to any normal end-of-day cleaning that occurs.

• Use an EPA-approved disinfectant wipe or spray to sanitize the counter after a transaction or customer interaction on any area the customer came into contact with.

• Keep bottles of hand sanitizer placed at high-contact areas, such as customer service counters.

• After completing sanitizing procedures, employees should thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water.

• Change gloves after sanitization occurs, if possible.

• Develop end-of-day cleaning protocols by identifying high traffic areas in the store — countertops, cash wraps and displays — and thoroughly disenfect each area and use approved disinfecting sprays, such as Lysol, to help kill any airborne bacteria.

Innovative displays

When it comes to the product offering and in-store experience for customers, gone are the days (for now, at least) of being able to have interactive, demonstrative displays.

• Adjust your product displays to minimize contact.

• For greeting cards or books, find new and exciting ways to display the book’s cover or the card’s interior message without a customer having to handle the product.

Cashless transactions

Another way retailers can continue to evolve the retail experience in their locations is to shift to cashless transactions. Physical money can be one of the biggest ways to spread germs by default. As a bonus, not having cash on-hand can also improve the sense of security for your employees by not having to handle deposits every night.

Finally, retailers should continue to offer curbside pickup options and delivery, if possible. While states are beginning to reopen, there are many that still do not feel comfortable venturing out into the public — and may not for a while. Offering curbside pickup and delivery options is a great way to ensure your valued customers can continue to shop with your location while still feeling safe and secure with their decisions.

Resources

For assistance retailers can turn to a variety of resources.

• Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting — CDC’s comprehensive document that outlines how to properly clean and sanitize public spaces. Visit coronavirus.gov.

Operation Open Doors — NRF created this document to assist retailers and address everything from how to handle “refusal to work” or “requests for accommodations” from employees, and more.

• COVID-19 Retail Restrictions — NRF created this web page, which includes the details of local government ordinances. Visit NRF.com/resources/operation-open-doors for additional resource information.


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