COVID19 Prevention Checklist Industry Guidance

Last updated: Jul 16, 2020

The State of Maine has adopted a staged approach, supported by science, public health expertise, and industry collaboration, to allow Maine businesses to safely open when the time is right. The plan is available at www.maine.gov/covid19/restartingmaine.

This is one of many industry guidance documents the State is preparing for businesses so they can be prepared to meet health guidelines and reopen safely. Please make sure you pair this document with the general guidance document that applies to all industries, which is available on maine.gov/decd.

Please note: This document may be updated as additional information and resources become available. 

Phase 1: Retail Businesses

Employees

  • Require employees to wear cloth face coverings and to practice good hand hygiene with frequent handwashing,  especially between contact with customers and customer equipment.
  • Where possible, stagger employee shifts and meal breaks to avoid crowding.
  • Ensure employees stay 6 feet apart whenever practical.
  • Adjust seating in break rooms and other common areas to reflect physical distancing practices.
  • Prohibit gatherings or meetings of employees of 10 or more during working hours.
  • Permit employees to take breaks and lunch outside, or in such other areas where physical distancing is attainable.
  • Do not allow employee food in retail area. Employee drinks may be allowed if kept where customers cannot accidentally come into contact with them and employees sanitize their hands after handling the container. (Updated 7/2/20)
  • Limit interaction between employees and outside visitors or truck drivers; implement touchless receiving practices if possible.
  • Adjust training/onboarding practices to limit number of people involved and allow for 6 foot spacing; use virtual/video/audio training when possible.
  • Discourage employees from using colleagues’ phones, desks, workstations, radios,handhelds/wearables, or other work tools and equipment.
  • Provide employees training:
    • physical distancing guidelines and expectations
    • monitoring personal health
    • proper wear, removal, disposal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    • laundering of face coverings and uniforms as listed below
    • cleaning protocols as listed below (or per CDC)
    • how to monitor personal health and body temperature at home.
    • guidance on how to launder cloth face coverings and uniforms: see CDC, Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility, How to Disinfect: Laundry
    • cleaning protocol, including how to safely and effectively use cleaning supplies.
  • Consider employee training in safe de-escalation techniques.

Customers

  • Customers must wear face coverings in accordance with the Governor's Executive Order.
  • Inform your customers of your COVID policies and procedures in advance, if possible.
  • Place signage at entrances and throughout the store alerting staff and customers to the required occupancy limits, six feet of physical distance, and policy on cloth face covering.
  • Encourage customers to limit the number of people they bring into the business. Solo shop when possible.
  • Support physical distance between customer and personnel by taping off 6 feet distance from counters, service desks, and sales stations.
  • Consider installing plexiglass barriers to maximize physical distancing.
  • Post signage if you have to limit quantities of certain items.
  • Consider offering exclusive early hours to seniors and other high-risk individuals.
  • Discourage people from touching merchandise they are not going to purchase.
  • Consider adjusting store hours of operation, as necessary, to support social distancing efforts by limiting store traffic.

Operations

  • Retailers will limit the total occupancy of stores to 5 customers per 1,000 square feet of shopping space.
    • While 5 customers per 1,000 square feet is the maximum number at this time, owners and managers should consider the following factors that can increase transmission risk in their building and may decide to set a lower capacity limit, such as 3 per 1,000 square feet, if present:
      • Poor ventilation, i.e. little outside air circulating in
      • Confined spaces that make physical distancing difficult
  • Provide distance markers located outside of store for times when capacity limits are exceeded; this will allow for queuing while maintaining physical distance; employees can also be assigned to assist customers with waiting to enter.
  • Consider ways to maximize air flow, if practical, to increase fresh air circulation (e.g. opening windows, or doors)
  • Note that staff or customer use of elevators or escalators will require regular attention to physical distance guidelines and frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces.
  • Minimize shared touch surfaces such as kiosks, tablets, pens, credit cards, receipts and keys.
  • Establish procedure for regularly disinfecting inventory and newly received deliveries.
  • Establish protocols for handling and processing shipping and receipts (including disinfection).
  • Advise workers, contractors, drivers, and vendors that they are required by Executive Order #49 FY 19/20 to wear cloth face coverings while on the premises.
  • Notify vendors of re-opening, and any revised protocol as it relates to store entry, deliveries, paperwork, etc.
  • Consider implementing measures to ensure vendor safety, including:
    • Disabling/suspending access (e.g., suspending all non-employee truck drivers from entering stores, warehouses and manufacturing plants).
    • Transitioning to contactless signatures/e-signatures for deliveries.
    • Where practical, adjusting store delivery windows to spread out deliveries.
  • Request that vendors accessing your store locations direct their employees to follow all social distancing guidelines and health directives issued by the applicable public authorities.
  • Require regular and frequent sanitization of high-touch areas like restrooms, doors, PIN pads, and common areas that are accessible to staff, customers, and suppliers.
  • Ensure operating hours allow downtime between shifts for thorough cleaning.
  • Provide sanitization materials, such as sanitizing wipes, to employees to clean handhelds/wearables, scanners, radios, or other work tools and equipment before/after use.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch areas routinely. Carts and baskets should be cleaned and disinfected between each customer use. (Updated 6/4/20)
  • Consider providing cleaning “kits” including disinfectant wipes or sprays, disposable gloves, paper towels, cloth face coverings, hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies are readily accessible throughout store, including point of sale terminals and other stations that will be cleaned periodically throughout the day.

Purchases

  • Promote “Contactless” Shopping Options
    • On-line shopping
    • Contactless payment options (e.g., RFID credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.)
    • Self-checkout
    • Pickup and delivery services
  • Wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) after handling cash.
  • Reusable bags are allowed at the discretion of store managers. (Updated 7/16/20)
  • Consider increasing pickup hours to serve more online customers.
  • Maintain physical distancing including at point-of-sale terminals and other workstations

Returns and Exchanges

  • Consider suspending or modifying return and exchange policies.
  • Establish procedures for processing, handling, disinfecting, and storing returns in isolation for a safe time period before returning them to sales floor. When processing returns, employees should wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after handling items. (Updated 6/19/20)

Fitting Rooms (Updated 6/19/20)

  • Decide whether to reopen fitting rooms. If fitting rooms are reopened, retailers should provide hand sanitizer or hand washing stations near fitting rooms. Fitting rooms should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Any items used by customers in a fitting room and not purchased should be removed from active inventory on the sales floor and stored for 24 hours before return to sales racks.

Other Operational Considerations

  • Widen high-traffic areas to the extent store configuration allows.
  • Note that areas of cleaning focus for retail business include:
    • Shopping carts and baskets.
    • Door and drawer handles.
    • Light and other power switches (consider signage to keep lights on at all times, or utilizing exiting motion sensor capabilities).
    • Shared tools such as pricing guns, pallet jacks, tape guns, box cutters, etc.
    • Chairs, tables, and benches.
    • Refrigerators, microwave, and other frequently touched objects and surfaces in employee breakroom.
    • Time clocks
    • Point of sale/checkout:
    • Cash register, including touch screens, keyboards, mouse.
    • PIN Pads (touch screen, keypad, and pen).
    • Checkout counter and/or conveyor belt.
    • Checkout dividers.
    • Restrooms
      • Toilet bowl, toilet paper holder, and flush lever. 
      • Sinks and faucets.
      • Paper towel holders and/or air dryers.
      • Diaper-changing stations.
  • Note that vending machines are not recommended at this time due to the challenge of keeping surfaces clean.
  • Provide hand sanitizer in the store for customers and employee use, including store entrance(s), and checkouts.
  • Remove any flyers, sales brochures, pricing lists that multiple customers might handle unless intended for single-use only.
  • Consider one-way aisles where practical.
  • Suspend “self-service” food stations and the sampling of food or personal care products.
  • Remove “tester” products such as hand lotion or perfumes.
  • Recommend allowing only service animals in business at this time.
  • Avoid special events/promotions that could draw large numbers of the public to the business at one time.

Special Protocols for Home Delivery/Installation Employees

  • Wear protective cloth face coverings during in-home delivery and/or installation services.
  • Wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) between deliveries
  • Ensure proper social distancing between employee and customer.
  • Clean and disinfect any surfaces that will be regularly contacted throughout the duration of any installation.
  • When delivery/installation is complete, clean and disinfect all surfaces that were contacted throughout installation.
  • Clean and disinfect any tools or supplies used throughout delivery/installation upon leaving the home.

COVID-19 Prevention Form

In order to open, businesses must commit to complying with requirements of these checklists by filling out this short online form. Please note that religious organizations and licensed health care providers are not required to use this form.

If you have questions, please contact us at business.answers@maine.gov or 1-800-872-3838.