The reopening and mitigation guidelines below are part of Restore Chester County's Business & Org Toolkit and apply to the retail sector.
Click on each key topic below to find best practices for this sector compiled from federal, state and county guidelines and vetted by state and local health departments, businesses and municipalities. In addition, the chart provided here is an overview of Pennsylvania regulations for reopening through the red, yellow and green phases as they compare to CDC regulations. Leaders from Chester County's various sectors have indicated that these are the topics of highest concern at this point. We welcome your feedback as we continue to make updates.
During the "Red" phase, non-life-sustaining retail locations will remain closed.
In the "Yellow" phase, in-person retail is considered allowable, but curbside and delivery retail is preferred. Businesses that do choose to open should follow state and CDC social distancing and cleaning guidelines.
In the "Green" phase, in-person retail will continue to be permitted, with curbside and delivery retail still preferred.
These materials and any related updates are provided and intended for general public informational purposes and guidance. While intended to be timely and accurate, please note that federal and state regulations and directives are changing often. To that extent, please continue to monitor this site for any significant modifications and developments.
Employer Tips and Guidelines +
As per the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), retail employers should follow these tips to ensure a safe return to operations. Due to the wide variety of retail store types, functions, and sizes, it may not be possible for establishments to implement all of the following; however, trying to tackle the problem from multiple angles can help reduce health risks.
Employers should consider developing a team of professionals to monitor, assess, and implement new strategies as they become available.
Consistently monitor employee wellness and do not let anyone symptomatic report to work. Revisit your leave or sick program to allow for this time off.
Conduct employee temperature screening and wellness checks before each shift. Employees can self-check temperature, either while wearing a glove or disinfecting between use.
Employees who monitor their temperature at home should update their supervisor if they have a temperature exceeding 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit and stay home.
Encourage continued e-commerce and contactless curbside pick-up and home delivery.
Use social media and other communication (signage/email/text lists) to educate customers/clients on the steps being taken for their protection.
Crowd control: mark distances using tape/markers/paint/signage of 6 feet for customers in checkout and indoor and outdoor waiting areas.
Train sales personnel on physical distancing, including greetings such as: "Hello, thank you for coming in. We are here to help you, but we will be at a distance of 6 feet for your safety."
Limit the number of customers shopping at one time. Consider starting with a call/text ahead program and limiting the family unit/group size to two or less.
Encourage self-checkout if available.
If store has aisles that are less than 10 feet wide, route traffic in one direction.
Develop merchandising strategy with distancing in mind. Distance racks and shelves to 6 feet or more if unidirectional shopping and greater than 10 feet if multidirectional shopping/traffic flow.
Consider single-item display with back stock for specific color/sizing.
Close off all changing rooms temporarily.
Discourage customers from carrying around products they plan to purchase or touching items they don't intend to purchase. Encourage items to be placed in carts or identify an area near checkout where customers can place items they plan to purchase.
Consider adjusting return policies to accommodate interim shopping restrictions.
For returned items, it is recommended to disinfect or isolate the items as follows: isolate paper/cardboard materials for at least 24 hours, and all other materials for at least 3 days.
Consider placing plexiglass partitions between cashiers and customers.
Get fresh air to the shoppers and staff and properly utilize ventilation system. Open doors and windows and encourage outdoor shopping if possible.
Establish a disinfection routine using disposable products. Contact surfaces, point of purchase, and credit card payment station should be disinfected after each customer.
Consider using a checklist or audit system to track how often cleaning is conducted.
Carts, racks, shelving, hangers and other items on the sales floor should be visibly clean. Consider marking them as "clean" or "disinfected."
Doors to multi-stall restrooms should be able to be opened and closed without touching handles if at all possible. Place a trash can by the door if the door cannot be opened without touching the handle.
For single restrooms, provide signage and materials (paper towels and trash cans) for individuals to use without touching the handles. Consider providing a key so disinfection measures can be better controlled.
Place signs indicating that toilet lids (if present) should be closed before flushing. Place signs asking customers and employees to wash hands before and after using the restroom.
Provide paper towels in restrooms and disconnect or tape off hand air dryers.
Establish a "before and after service" hand washing or sanitizing protocol for all staff.
Provide hand washing stations at the front of the establishment, or provide hand sanitizer if washing is not feasible. Provide hand washing stations or sanitizer at prominent locations and point of purchase.
Although not necessary if hand washing protocols are rigorously followed, consider providing gloves to staff, which should be changed regularly.
For those who cannot maintain physical distancing as part of their job, provide or encourage all employees to wear face coverings and gloves and to use hand sanitizer.
Provide instruction and training to employees on how to properly put on and remove gloves, clean and disinfect surfaces according to product specifications, and correctly use face coverings and/or respirators.
Provide Safety Data Sheets for cleaning chemicals and ensure employees are aware of the hazards of use. Single-use items and used disinfection materials can be treated as regular waste, following regular safety guidelines. Any reused cloth materials should be washed and dried on the highest temperature setting allowable for the fabric.
Communicate to customers what the retail establishment is doing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Consider communicating to customers when in-person shopping may not be a good option, e.g. taking care of someone who is COVID-19 positive, exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, being in a high-risk category, etc.
Communicate that the retail establishment has the right to refuse service to anyone exhibiting symptoms or not following guidelines (e.g., physical distancing).
Platforms for communication could include websites and indoor/outdoor signage.
Encourage drive-through or curbside pickup and home delivery, where feasible.
Encourage customers to submit prescriptions online or by phone. Allow customers to provide their insurance information verbally or virtually (e.g., through mobile apps or the pharmacy's website).
Specify hours dedicated to vulnerable populations (the elderly, people with underlying health conditions, etc.).
Increase the use of self-checkout to minimize worker interaction with customers.
Limit the number of customers allowed inside the facility at any point.
Provide a place to wash hands and/or provide hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol.
Allow workers to wear cloth face coverings or surgical masks over their nose and mouth to prevent them from spreading the virus.
Provide gloves and eye and face protection, as necessary, for workers in the pharmacy.
Pharmacists providing clinical services to patients, such as immunizations, might need additional protections. If you believe this may include you, consult OSHA's healthcare worker and employer guidance. Encourage workers to report any safety and health concerns.
How Employees Can Protect Themselves +
Self-monitor your temperature every morning. Employees who have a temperature exceeding 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit should stay home and notify their supervisor.
If you are sick or receive any kind of testing (virus or antibody), results should be reported to your employer and timing/decision to go back to work should only be with doctor's approval.
Employees should evaluate health constantly and stay home if sick or if someone at home is sick. Employees should stay home if they have a temperature or have allergies and sneezing. NOTE: Employer HR Policies, HIPAA guidelines and other laws should be followed at all times.
Wear a face covering at work and when out in public and maintain physical distancing.
Wash hands when arriving at work, after each customer, after touching your face or face covering, and when leaving work.
Employees should let employers know if they have concerns about the PPE that may be provided and ensure they are properly instructed on how to use it.
Employees should carry a towel. With an urge to sneeze or cough, cover nose, mouth and mask, attempt to delay the urge, and try to immediately leave the building. Wash hands upon returning.
If an Employee Tests Positive +
If the individual receives a positive test notification while at work, follow established Human Resources policy. If the individual receives a positive test notification while NOT at work, the individual should follow established Human Resources policy, stay home and self-isolate in accordance with Chester County Health Department guidance.
Determine who had contact with the positive individual during the time the individual had symptoms as well as 48 hours prior to symptoms. Notify employees who were in close contact with the confirmed individual while maintaining confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
People who had close contact must self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of last contact with the positive individual.
"Close contact" is defined as having contact for more than 15 minutes, at a distance of 6 feet or less, with a positive individual.
Individuals may discontinue home isolation and return to work under the following conditions:
At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since your fever went away without the use of fever-reducing medication
AND improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
AND At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
After returning to work, individuals should:
Wear a facemask at all times while at work until all symptoms are completely resolved or until 14 days after illness onset, whichever is longer.
Be restricted from contact with individuals at a higher risk (e.g., older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness).
AND At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
Adhere to hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette (e.g., cover nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, dispose of tissues in waste receptacles).
Self-monitor for symptoms. Seek immediate re-evaluation from occupational health/primary care provider and do not work if symptoms recur or worsen.
The Chester County Health Department will be notified of all confirmed cases through established disease reporting protocols and will follow-up with the individual appropriately. Contact the Chester County Health Department at 610-344-6225.
Supporting Customers and Clients +
Stay at home if you are sick, if you have a fever, if someone at home is sick, if you have allergies and sneezing. Use online or curbside services where you can.
Limit the items you touch within a store to the items you select to purchase.
Wear a face covering.
Wash your hands before and after you leave the building if possible. If not, use hand sanitizer when you enter and before you leave the building.
Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other customers and employees when walking throughout the store to the extent possible.
If you get the urge to sneeze or cough, cover your nose, mouth, and mask with a napkin or handkerchief, attempt to delay the urge to sneeze or cough, immediately leave the building, wash your hands and face thoroughly before returning.
Along with best practices outlined here and in our Business Toolkit, individual business and organization sectors will be following further guidance. Click below to learn more on how they're preparing.