Retail Businesses

COVID19 Prevention Checklist Industry Guidance

Last updated: Apr 29, 2021

The State of Maine has adopted a multi-layered approach to COVID-19 guidance—supported by science, public health expertise, and industry collaboration—to help Maine businesses and community organizations operate safely. As we enter the second year of the pandemic, these updated guidelines highlight the importance of employing multi-layered mitigation strategies to keep Maine businesses, employees, and residents as safe as possible from COVID-19 transmission. Public health guidance will continue to evolve as we learn which mitigation strategies most effectively reduce transmission risk.

No single measure or action will completely prevent transmission of COVID-19. Use of multiple strategies—sometimes called layered mitigation—provides greater protection than implementing a single strategy alone. When multiple mitigation strategies—including masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and ventilation—are consistently and correctly used, risk of transmission is decreased. 

Please make sure you pair this industry-specific guidance with the general guidance available at

For the latest information on travel policies and Executive Orders related to COVID-19 visit the Office of the Governor’s COVID-19 Response website:

Retail Businesses


  1. Employees should stay at home if they are sick. Supervisors should ask all employees to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before each shift using either of the following approaches:
    1. Use an electronic or app-based self-screening form, such as the Coronavirus Self-Checker available on the federal CDC’s homepage.
    2. Self-screen using the following questions:
      • Do you feel ill or have you been caring for someone who is ill?
      • In the past two weeks, have you been exposed to anyone who tested positive for COVID-19?
  2. Require employees to wear masks indoors and to practice good hand hygiene with frequent handwashing, especially between contact with customers and customer equipment. (Updated 4/29/21)
  3. Where possible, stagger employee shifts and meal breaks to avoid crowding.
  4. Ensure employees stay 6 feet apart whenever practical.
  5. Adjust seating in break rooms and other common areas to reflect physical distancing practices.
  6. Permit employees to take breaks and lunch outside, or in such other areas where physical distancing is attainable. During activities when individuals need to remove their mask (i.e., when eating and drinking), they must remain physically distant from others.
  7. Do not allow employee food in retail area. Employees must be masked indoors when interacting with customers. (Updated 4/29/21) Removal of the employee’s mask for drinking liquids should be limited to brief periods when customers or co-workers are not nearby.  Employee drinks should not be kept near areas of customer contact.  Employees should sanitize their hands after touching the drink container.
  8. Adjust training/onboarding practices to limit number of people involved and allow for 6 foot spacing; use virtual/video/audio training when possible.
  9. Discourage employees from using colleagues’ phones, desks, workstations, radios, handhelds/wearables, or other work tools and equipment.
  10. Provide employees training:
    1. physical distancing guidelines and expectations
    2. monitoring personal health
    3. proper wear, removal, disposal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    4. laundering of cloth masks and uniforms as listed below
    5. cleaning protocols as listed below (or per CDC)
    6. how to monitor personal health and body temperature at home.
    7. guidance on how to launder cloth masks and uniforms: see CDC, Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility, How to Disinfect: Laundry
    8. cleaning protocol, including how to safely and effectively use cleaning supplies.
  11. Consider employee training in safe de-escalation techniques.


  1. Indoor gatherings and in-store customer limits as further established by the Governor's Executive Order are subject to the following limits:
    1. Effective March 26, 2021 through May 23, 2021: 50% of permitted occupancy or 50 persons (or 5 people per 1,000 square feet for retail establishments), whichever is greater.
    2. Effective May 24, 2021 and thereafter: 75% of permitted occupancy or 50 persons (or 5 people per 1,000 square feet for retail establishments), whichever is greater.
  2. Any outdoor gathering taking place at a facility or event that is subject to a permitted occupancy limit:
    1. Effective March 26, 2021 through May 23, 2021: 75% of permitted occupancy.
    2. Effective May 24, 2021 and thereafter: 100% of permitted occupancy.
  3. 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, if present:
    • Poor ventilation, i.e. little outside air circulating in
    • Confined spaces that make physical distancing difficult
  4. 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.
  5. Take steps to improve ventilation in the building.
    1. Increase the percentage of outdoor air (e.g., using economizer modes of HVAC operations) potentially as high as 100% (first verify compatibility with HVAC system capabilities for both temperature and humidity control as well as compatibility with outdoor/indoor air quality considerations).
    2. Increase total airflow supply to occupied spaces, if possible.
    3. Disable demand-control ventilation (DCV) controls that reduce air supply based on temperature or occupancy.
    4. Consider using natural ventilation (i.e., opening windows if possible and safe to do so) when environmental conditions and building requirements allow.
  6. Take steps to ensure that all water systems and features (for example, drinking fountains) are safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water.
  7. Consider restricting the use of water fountains to refill only with instruction for visitors to wash hands after use.
  8. Modify building/venue traffic flow to minimize contact between employees, vendors, and customers. Use floor decals and/or signage to establish travel patterns.
    1. Consider one-way entrances and exits, if possible.
    2. Consider establishing one-way travel patterns through the venue.
    3. Ensure that physical distancing is maintained in elevators and stairwells. Consider limiting the number of individuals in an elevator at one time and designating one directional stairwell.
  9. Shift primary stocking activities to off-peak or after hours when possible to reduce contact with customers.
  10. Request that vendors accessing your store locations direct their employees to follow all physical distancing guidelines and health directives issued by the applicable public authorities.


  1. Customers must wear masks in accordance with the Governor's Executive Order. Masks are required indoors and recommended outdoors when 6 feet of physical distance is difficult to maintain. (Updated 4/29/21)
  2. Inform your customers of your COVID policies and procedures in advance, if possible.
  3. 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 masks.
  4. Support physical distance between customer and personnel by taping off 6 feet distance from counters, service desks, and sales stations.
  5. Consider installing plexiglass barriers to maximize physical distancing.
  6. Post signage if you have to limit quantities of certain items.

Cleaning and Disinfection

  1. Refer to the following documents for guidance on general cleaning and disinfection:
    1. COVID-19 Prevention Checklist General Guidance (State of Maine)
    2. Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility (CDC)
    3. Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes (CDC)
  2. 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.
  3. Minimize shared touch surfaces such as kiosks, tablets, pens, credit cards, receipts and keys.
  4. Require regular and frequent sanitization of high-touch areas like restrooms, doors and carts and baskets.
  5. Provide cleaning materials and strongly encourage customers to hand sanitize and wipe cart handle upon entry to store.
  6. Provide sanitization materials, such as sanitizing wipes, to employees to clean PIN pads, handhelds/wearables, scanners, radios, or other work tools and equipment before/after use.
  7. 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.


  1. Promote “Contactless” Shopping Options
    1. On-line shopping
    2. Contactless payment options (e.g., RFID credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.)
    3. Self-checkout
    4. Pickup and delivery services
  2. Wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) after handling cash.
  3. Consider increasing pickup hours to serve more online customers.
  4. Maintain physical distancing including at point-of-sale terminals and other workstations.
  5. Move the electronic payment terminal/credit card reader farther away from the cashier in order to increase the distance between the customer and the cashier, if possible.
  6. Establishments that offer prepared food and drink service, whether dine-in or takeout, should adhere to the applicable provisions of the Food and Drink Service checklist.
  7. Buffets and self-service food stations (e.g., hot and cold bars, bulks items, baked goods) should adhere to these additional minimum guidelines:
    1. Patrons may self-serve food if hand sanitizer stations are located at both ends of the buffet or self-service station and signage is posted to require hand sanitizing before each visit to a station.
    2. If areas are not configured for self-service, designated staff (e.g., buffet attendant) should serve onto patron’s plate while wearing a mask and gloves and maintaining 6 feet of physical distance with patrons and other employees.
    3. Separate buffet stations should maintain 6 feet of distancing and allow for physical distancing between patrons throughout establishment.
    4. Impermeable barriers should be put in place between servers and patrons; patron and servers should not exchange or pass the same plate multiple times.
    5. Queue points should be established 6 feet apart with markers to encourage social distancing.
    6. Queues should be limited to patrons from the same dining party to the extent possible.
    7. Utensils used for serving should be changed hourly.
    8. Children in self-service food areas must be supervised by an adult.
    9. Masks must be worn indoors at all times by individuals in self-service food areas. (Updated 4/29/21)

Returns and Exchanges

  1. When processing returns and exchange items, employees should wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after handling items.

Fitting Rooms 

  1. Retailers should provide hand sanitizer or hand washing stations near fitting rooms and encourage use by patrons before and after leaving fitting rooms.
  2. Fitting rooms should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. 

Restrooms in Retail Locations

  1. Limit restroom occupancy for group restrooms to incorporate physical distancing and avoid formation of waiting lines outside of restrooms.
  2. Clean and disinfect restrooms on a regular and scheduled basis (see General Cleaning and Disinfecting section).
  3. Post handwashing signs in all restrooms. The federal CDC has developed free, printable posters that describe appropriate handwashing standards (see: Print Resources).

Other Operational Considerations

  1. Widen high-traffic areas to the extent store configuration allows.
  2. Consider one-way aisles where practical.
  3. Suspend the sampling of food or personal care products that requires the removal of masks.
  4. Remove “tester” products such as hand lotion or perfumes.

Special Protocols for Home Delivery/Installation Employees

  1. Wear masks during in-home delivery and/or installation services.
  2. Wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) between deliveries.
  3. Ensure proper social distancing between employee and customer.
  4. Clean and disinfect any surfaces that will be regularly contacted throughout the duration of any installation.
  5. When delivery/installation is complete, clean and disinfect all surfaces that were contacted throughout installation.
  6. Clean and disinfect any tools or supplies used throughout delivery/installation upon leaving the home.
  7. For further guidance for services in residential settings, see In-Home Services checklist.

Business Related Vehicle Use

  1. Riding in vehicles with individuals from outside of your household presents a risk of COVID-19 transmission because of the inability to maintain physical distance and potentially poor ventilation in the vehicle.
  2. If riding in separate vehicles is not possible, limit the number of individuals in the vehicle and the distance as much as possible.
  3. All occupants of the vehicle should wear a mask for the duration of the ride.
  4. Everyone in the vehicle should wash or sanitize their hands before entering and as soon as possible after exiting the vehicle.
  5. Maximize ventilation in the vehicle cabin to lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
    1. Fully opening all vehicle windows is the most efficient way to increase ventilation in the vehicle cabin.
    2. If fully opening all vehicle windows is not possible, open all windows halfway or fully open two of the windows in the vehicle.
    3. In the event of extreme weather, when opening windows is not possible, use the vehicle’s vents to bring in fresh outside air—avoid using the recirculated air option for the vehicle’s ventilation during transport.
  6. If vehicles are used by multiple individuals who are not part of the same household, clean and disinfect the steering wheel, seatbelts, consoles, and other frequent touchpoints as part of an end-of-shift or pre-trip routine.

COVID-19 Prevention Form

In order to open, if you have not already done so, please 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 or 1-800-872-3838.