Podcast

Ep. 47 COVID Safety Guidelines for Retailers During the Holiday Season

Safety and health concerns for the upcoming holiday shopping season are on the minds of many consumers. If you’re taking measures to keep yourself and your customers safe, those customers will genuinely support your efforts and will come back to shop with you. 

Here are some guidelines to keep everyone safe while they shop at your store.

Front Entrance

  • Have a message on your window/door regarding the proper use of masks at all times, your occupancy limit, and a friendly reminder to practice social distancing in your store.
  • Have a box of disposable masks available for customers if they want to shop but do not have a mask.
  • If you’re able, prop your door open so customers do not need to touch the handles (this may not be realistic for some because of the climate you’re in).
  • Have hand sanitizers readily available by the entryway to use it as they enter or exit your store and have a trash can nearby if you have hand wipes or paper towels.
  • After a transaction, walk your customer out and open the door for them. Then, wash your hands.

Body Language

  • With masks obscuring our mouth, you may say hello and greet customers with a wave after eye contact, so they know who is an employee.
  • Keep your hands to yourself; no handshaking or hugging. You can offer air high fives and air hugs to your loyal customers!

Cash Wrap Area

  • Properly disinfect counter, pin pads, touch screens, pens, etc. after each customer uses it.
  • Disinfect phone, scanners, POS, stapler, drawers & handles regularly.
  • Have a small box filled with your daily cleaning supplies and give it a home.
  • If possible, have disposable gloves available for employees/customers and remind them to properly dispose of them after use.
  • If your POS can send an e-receipt of their transaction, offer it! And if it can track emails, that is a massive bonus for shopkeepers to add them to their newsletters.  We turned signatures off for all transactions in our store.

Around the Store

  • If your space is large, have reminders posted around the area to social distance.
  • You can mark your floor with blue painters tape, or something similar, every 6 ft or every wall/area and inform customers to take turns.
  • Seal up any testers you may have, so customers do not touch/use them. If available, have spare testers for an employee to spray/squeeze onto a clean stock card—in front of the customer—if it will make or break the sale. Have a sign by testers to ask for assistance.

Back Room Area

  • Regularly disinfect break area, tables, computer/keyboard/mouse, door handles, light switches, work stations, and supplies used daily (box cutters, tape guns, etc.)

Signage

There’s so much you can do with signage both outside of your store and in-store. If you have directions or guidelines that are important for your customers to understand, then make and post signs. I know not everyone reads signs; I’m guilty of this myself, but many people do, and it does help.

What to do if you or an employee feels sick or is showing symptoms

  • Ensure ten days have passed since the first symptoms appeared before returning to work and/or you receive a negative FDA Authorized COVID-19 test. Make sure you stay up to date on state guidelines.
  • Have a policy or protocol for your staff if this happens.
  • Have teams or pods of employees working. My sister and I have not worked in the store together, so if one of us gets sick, the other can still continue to work.
  • If you want to be extra safe, self-check your temperature and your team members’ temperatures before the workday begins.

In-Store Events

This is the challenging part this year. Many of us host multiple events in our stores during the holiday season. If you choose to hold an event, make it a ticketed event so you can control the number of people in your space. Extend a one-day open house to a full-week open house to minimize the number of people in your store at one time. 

Even better, get creative with hosting events online. People love to shop from the comfort of their own home!

Lastly, you can share the images from this CDC article on your social media. They show how to best wear a mask.

Resources

Timestamps

  • [01:27] Shopkeeper Shoutout
  • [03:55] Front Entrance
  • [05:55] Body Language
  • [06:50] Cash Wrap Area
  • [08:21] Around the Store
  • [11:04] Back Room Area
  • [11:33] Signage
  • [12:47] What to do if you or an employee feels sick or is showing symptoms
  • [14:22] In-Store Events

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