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Retailers lay out phased-out approach to reopening stores

Increased sanitization measures and social distancing protocols for customers as well as employees play key roles in a plan for re-opening stores that builds on the examples of retailers that have remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association and the National Retail Federation released a Blueprint for Shopping Safe on Monday that calls for a phased-in approach to reopening retail. The plan urges governors to issue uniform, statewide protocols for retailers to adopt as they reopen stores and work to keep employees and customers safe.  

"Groceries, pharmacies and other retailers that have remained open have implemented practices and protocols that are keeping employees and communities safe,” said Brian Dodge, RILA president.” The Blueprint released today builds off those successful operating practices. Our goal is for the safe reopen of retail, and we want everyone, policymakers, employees and our customers to know that the industry is ready to Shop Safe."

The Blueprint, developed in accordance with CDC guidelines and benchmarking by leading retailers with a focus on ensuring the health and wellness of employees and customers, details three phases for reopening retail:

•    Phase 1 – Allow E-commerce, contactless curbside pickup & in-home delivery;
•    Phase 2 – Re-open stores to the public, with social distancing protocols & reduced occupancy ; and
•    Phase 3 – establish protection, then lift all restrictions.

Some of the recommended protocols under phase two of the plan including the placement of “conspicuous”  signage at entrances and throughout the store alerting staff and customers of  required occupancy limits, six feet of physical distance, and policy on face covering.  It also recommends frequent sanitization of high-touch areas like restrooms, fitting rooms, doors, PIN pads, and common areas.  

In addition, it recommends that retailers physically mark six feet of spacing in check-out lines to demonstrate appropriate spacing for social distancing and keep special hours of operation for shoppers at risk of COVID-19.

"Consistent guidelines – without over burdensome regulatory schemes – across all levels of government is critical," said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. "As an industry, we are committed to working with the Administration, Congressional and state leaders, and the professional medical community to help all families Shop Safe."

"As governors and state health departments evaluate conditions, we want them to have confidence that retailers are adopting the social distancing, hygiene, and sanitization practices necessary to keep customers, employees, and the entire community safe," added  Dodge.

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