Back to Work Guidelines for Retails Businesses

These guidelines are intended for retail businesses such as specialty shops, gift shops, florists, clothing stores, consignment shops, etc.

As a retailer, it can be challenging to figure out what exactly you need to do to make your business safe for employees and customers. These guidelines take into account the unique changes your business will need to make as you welcome people back into your store.


Physical Distancing

Keeping customers and team members 6' apart can be a challenge for retail businesses. Your business depends on customer interaction, and your customers need to be able to navigate through your store. Help maintain social distancing standards by: 

  • Directing the flow of traffic.
    • If possible, designate separate entrance and exit doors.
    • Make aisles one direction using floor signs or wide tape in a bright color.
  • Minimizing the need to handle cash or cards.
    • Encourage touchless payment options via apps or self-checkout.
  • Installing barriers at checkout lanes and service windows.
  • Using floor signs or colorful tape to mark where customers should stand wherever a queue is required, such as checkout lanes and service windows.
  • Creating special hours for vulnerable, at-risk customers only.
  • Restocking after hours instead of during the day to reduce person-to-person contact and help keep your employees and customers safe.


  • Increase the frequency of disinfecting high-touch surfaces such as handles, counters, touchscreens, and credit card machines at checkout.
  • Perform routine cleaning every night after your store closes.
  • Shut down any self-serve/bulk stations where a utensil would be shared or staff it with an employee wearing a mask and gloves.



The CDC recommends, and some states require, everyone wear masks in enclosed public spaces.

  • Use signage at your store and posts on your social media accounts to remind customers to wear masks or face coverings when they are in your store.
  • Consider providing masks to customers who have forgotten theirs at home instead of turning them away.
  • OSHA recommends and some states require any employee who interacts with the public to wear a mask.
    • Based on standard OSHA PPE regulations, the type of mask is dependent on an employee's task or if their possible exposure to COVID-19 is higher (most retail settings are considered mid- to high-risk). Visit OSHA for more specific information.


Hand Washing / Hand Sanitizer

Along with disinfecting surfaces, hand cleanliness is one of the most effective ways of helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 or any other virus.

  • Provide hand sanitizer to customers as they enter your store, preferably via a touchless dispenser.
    • Consider adding hand sanitizer at your exit door, too, so customers have an opportunity to clean their hands as they leave. It's a subtle way to let your customers know you care about their health and safety.
  • Make sure any public or employee restroom has signs reminding people to wash their hands for 20 seconds.

These guidelines should help you to create new health and safety protocols for your business that protects employees and customers. However, as we learn more about COVID-19, recommendations and protocols will change. Be sure to stay updated on the latest developments using the sources below.


Main COVID-19 page
Grocery & Food Retail Workers
Interim Guidance for Businesses & Employers

Main COVID-19 page
Retail Workers
Cloth Face Coverings FAQs


Looking for more information? Check out our room-specific guidelines below.

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