COVID-19 Requirements for Retailers by Region

RCC has assembled an interactive chart of regulations and health and safety guidelines for retailers who are reopening or continuing to open during COVID-19.

Information includes:

  • Maximum number of people in store/ physical distancing requirements
  • Personal Protective Equipment required
  • Any rules in place for customer or employee screening
  • Rules in place for returns, fitting rooms, bagging and bulk bins

For details on expected dates and requirements of upcoming reopening phases, please consult our Reopening Frameworks page.

Please note interactive table may take a minute to load. Information on all provinces and territories is available – change column display to view more regions. Go to chart.

To customize to your regions, click the “Columns” button and choose which provinces or territories you would like to display. See demo

Opening/Health and safety requirements by region

wdt_ID Requirements British Columbia Alberta Saskatchewan Manitoba Ontario Quebec Nova Scotia New Brunswick PEI Nfld & Lab Nunavut NWT Yukon
2 Retailers considered "essential"/ allowed to open All All retailers are permitted to open. All retailers are permitted to open. As of January 23, 2021, all retail stores across the province are permitted to open. Essential retail, including, grocery, pharmacy, discount and big box stores, allowed to open at 50% capacity. Non-essential retail (including all retailers inside a mall) are allowed to open at 25% capacity. All retailers are allowed to open, including both essential and non-essential businesses. Dining rooms are allowed to open, with restrictions based on the geographical zone they fall into. Retail is allowed to open to everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Retailers must continue to follow their operational plans, regarding mask wearing and physical distancing. Retail is allowed to open to everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Retailers must continue to follow their operational plans, regarding mask wearing and physical distancing.
A 14 day, COVID-19 circuit breaker event began on October 8, 2021 in all/most/part of Zones 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Retail in these zones can remain open but only specific travel (eg: work) is allowed into and out of circuit breaker areas.
All retailers are permitted to open. Alert Level 2: Retail is allowed to open to everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Retailers are strongly encouraged to follow their operational plans, regarding mask wearing and physical distancing. Non-essential businesses in Arviat must remain closed until further notice. Non-essential businesses in other communities may be open subject to physical distancing requirements. All retailers are permitted to open. All retailers are permitted to open.
6 Maximum number of people in store/ physical distancing requirements B.C. removed the COVID-19 occupancy restrictions effective July 1, 2021. Retail stores across the province (all regions) are permitted to operate at 100% of fire code allowance. Retail stores across the province (all regions) are permitted to operate at 100% of fire code allowance. Retail stores must limit capacity to 50% of fire code, up to a maximum of 500 patrons, whichever is lower. Capacity varies by store type. RCC encourages retailers to see our capacity calculator, or our table showcasing capacity by colour code. There are no longer any capacity restrictions in retail stores. Retailers must however manage traffic in order to maintain a distance of 1 metre at all times between people of different residences. Stores must allow for 2 metres of physical distancing between individuals. Stores must allow for 2 metres of physical distancing between individuals. Stores must allow for 2 metres of physical distancing between individuals. Alert Level 2: Cinemas capacity at 100 people per room with physical distancing. Stores must allow for 2 metres of physical distancing between individuals.

Alert Level System and the listing of communities at different Alert Levels.
For smaller businesses that cannot maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres between persons, a maximum of 5 customers are allowed on premises at a time. Otherwise, 2 metres physical distance is required. Small retailers should restrict the number of customers to less than 10 at a time, or the number of people who can occupy the space while maintaining a two metre distance between them – whichever is less. For larger retailers, 2 metres distance between persons. Stores must allow for 2 metres of physical distancing between individuals.
7 Personal Protective Equipment required Masks are required in ‘indoor public spaces’ such as retail stores. In bar and restaurant settings, where food and beverage is served and consumed at tables, or in certain meetings, events and conference, proof of vaccination is required. Measures to promote hand hygiene and physical distancing (hand sanitizer, plexiglass barriers) are recommended (not required) as of July 1, 2021. Non-medical masks or face coverings are no longer required under a Health Order in retail stores, however are recommended for unvacinated custoemrs and stores may choose to impliment their own store policies. Non-medical masks or face coverings are no longer required under a Health Order in retail stores, however are recommended for unvacinated custoemrs and stores may choose to impliment their own store policies. Mandatory masks must be worn in all retail stores. Business should also take precautions including posting signage about physical distancing, monitor store capacity limits, limits are maintained enhance cleaning and sanitization protocols as well as ensure both customers and employees have access to hand sanitizer. Currently stores must maintain a single point of entry. It is mandatory to wear masks in all retail stores. Non-medical masks or face coverings are required for customers inside most indoor public places including retail stores and shopping centres. View Mask Requirements for more information.

For all employees in the yellow and green zones, procedural masks or certified masks are mandatory if social distancing (2 metres outdoors, 1 metre indoors) is not possible at all times OR there is no physical barrier. Wearing eye protection is optional. View information on EPI requirements (French only).

More information is available from CNESST on the PPE required for each of the alert level colours.
Non-medical masks are required inside most indoor public places including retail stores and shopping centres. View Mask Requirements for more information. Recommendations include 2 metre physical distancing, frequent hand washing / hand washing facilities, hand sanitizer (min of 60% alcohol), enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of workplace - especially high touch areas. Consider physical barriers when physical distancing can't be maintained.

It is recommended that all Nova Scotians wear a non-medical mask in situations where distancing may not be able to be kept.
Face masks are required in indoor public spaces.

Retailers are expected to make best efforts in enforcing the mask requirements but they are not expected to ask for a medical note if a customer states that they are exempt from wearing a mask for medical reasons. In store signage is recommended and examples can be found here.
Non-medical masks are required in all indoor public spaces. View mask requirements and exemptions. Recommendations include 2 metre physical distancing, frequent hand washing / hand washing facilities, hand sanitizer (min of 60% alcohol), enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of workplace - especially high touch areas. Consider physical barriers when physical distancing can't be maintained. Non-medical masks or face coverings are required inside most indoor public places including retail stores and shopping centres. View Mask Requirements for more information. Recommendations also include 2 metre physical distancing, frequent hand washing / hand washing facilities, hand sanitizer (min of 60% alcohol), enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of workplace - especially high touch areas. Consider physical barriers when physical distancing can't be maintained. Masks are mandatory in all communities with COVID-19 cases. Place alcohol-based hand cleaners at entrances for use by customers. Masks are required in all indoor public spaces, including retail, beginning December 1. It is recommended that hand sanitizer is provided.
8 Employee screening Employee screening is at the employer’s discretion. Encourage employees to self monitor as well as utilize the ABTraceTogether App to help create a good tracing protocol across the province. All workers, especially those in constant contact with the public should self -monitor for symptoms and use the self-assessment tool. Staff must use the self-screening tool before coming into work. Go to self-screening tool and stay home if feeling ill. Employee Screening is required in Ontario. Quebec recommends screening employees regularly for health issues. As of February, Public Health has implemented a screening protocol using the use of rapid tests in companies to reduce the risk of outbreaks - it is a voluntary measure. Employee Screening Program Guide for Communicable Disease Prevention

Posters and Resources
Employee Self Monitoring. See Operational Plan Template. Prior to beginning work each day, every employee must sign and date the designated form with the following statement:
“I declare by signing this sheet/form that I have not been outside of PEI within the last 14 days and am not required to self-isolate.”
Employers should have plans in place for increased worker absences due to illness or self-isolation requirements and all businesses should have a workplace illness policy. Provincial Guidance for Businesses can be found here. Send employees home immediately if they have a fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat. If an employee is experiencing COVID-19 type symptoms, they should call 811 for information on assessment and be assessed by a health professional before returning to work. A guide for employees experiencing COVID-19 symptoms is available with guidance on when to stay home from work.
9 Customer screening Customer screening is at the discretion of the individual business. In bar and restaurant settings, where food and beverage is served and consumed at tables, or in certain meetings, events and conference, proof of vaccination is required. Customers are not allowed entry if they are ill with COVID-19 symptoms. Customers are not allowed entry if they are ill with COVID-19 symptoms. Customers are not allowed entry if they are ill with COVID-19 symptoms. Provide soap and water or hand sanitizer for customers entering the store. Passive customer screening is required province-wide for retailers. The province recommends screening customers at the entrance. Each retailer must have an operational plan. In any retail setting where people are seated while eating or drinking, proof of vaccination is required. Each retailer must have an operational plan. In any retail setting where people are seated while eating or drinking, proof of vaccination is required. Each retailer must have an operational plan. In any retail setting where people are seated while eating or drinking, ,a href="https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/topic/pei-vax-pass-program">proof of vaccination is required. Each retailer is strongly encouraged to have an operational plan. In any retail setting where people are seated while eating or drinking, proof of vaccination is required. Post signs on entrances that stop people from entering the business if they have symptoms of respiratory illness (cough, fever, runny nose). Put a sign on business' front door or window asking people not to come in if:
- they’ve travelled outside Yukon in the past 14 days;
- they’re sick; or
- if they’ve been in contact with someone who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
10 Returns Returns are currently allowed. There are no COVID rules related to returns. There are no COVID rules related to returns. Returns are currently allowed. Returns are currently allowed. Returns are currently allowed. Returns are currently allowed. Returns are currently allowed. Returns are currently allowed. Returns are currently allowed. Returns are currently allowed. No guidance has been indicated. Returns are currently allowed. No guidance has been indicated. Returns are currently allowed. No guidance has been indicated.
11 Fitting rooms There are no requirements regarding fitting rooms as of July 1, 2021. There are no COVID rules related to fitting rooms There are no COVID rules related to fitting rooms Use of fitting rooms allowed. Use of fitting rooms allowed. Quebec has no guidance on fitting rooms. Use of fitting rooms allowed. Use of fitting rooms allowed. Use of fitting rooms allowed. Use of fitting rooms allowed. No guidance provided on fitting rooms. No guidance provided on fitting rooms. No guidance provided on fitting rooms.
12 Reusable bags/ bagging Reusable bags are recommended. Best practice is to post signage asking customers to wash reusable bags regularly. Local shopping bag bylaws must be observed. Reusable bags are permitted. Reusable bags are permitted. Reusable bags are permitted. Ontario recommends that customers who bring reusable bags to store should pack bags themselves.

Ontario's guidance says "Consider ways to minimize contact with customers and maintain a safe distance while handling goods and taking payment that may include not accepting re-usable bags or containers that are to be handled by your staff."
The province has recommended customers bag their own items. A company can, however, choose to offer packing or bagging services using reusable bags in accordance with the hygiene measures in place for the on-site employees. Likewise, reusable containers may be brought in by consumers and handled by employees, as long as employees wash their hands after handling containers belonging to consumers. Reusable bags are permitted. Reusable bags are permitted. Reusable bags are permitted. Reusable bags are permitted.
13 Bulk bins Bulk bins are allowed. There are no COVID rules related to bulk bins. There are no COVID rules related to bulk bins. The province’s updated grocery store guidelines allow for the reopening of some self-serve bulk services including bulk bakery items, gravity fed food bins, and clarification that customers may self-fill beverages. Frequent cleaning and sanitizing by employees is required. No province-wide guidance on bulk bins.

Some local Public Health Units have banned bulk bin usage. Please check with your local area regarding bulk bins.
Bulk bins are allowed but discouraged. Retailers are currently authorized to prepackage foods from bulk containers in order to limit handling by the public, without labeling them as long as the packaging is located near the original containers so that customers can take note of the necessary information (name, list of ingredients, price / weight or volume), until the sanitary situation is restored. Bulk bins are allowed. As part of their COVID-19 operational plans, retailers must have protocols that will be implemented to ensure that self-serve can be done safely. Bulk bins are allowed. As part of their COVID-19 operational plans, retailers must have protocols that will be implemented to ensure that self-serve can be done safely. Bulk bins are allowed. As part of their COVID-19 operational plans, retailers must have protocols that will be implemented to ensure that self-serve can be done safely. Bulk bins are allowed. As part of their COVID-19 operational plans, retailers must have protocols that will be implemented to ensure that self-serve can be done safely.
14 Guidance documents -WorkSafeBC guidance for employers on communicable disease transmission plans
-BC Centre for Disease Control guidance for food business
-Provincial Health Officer’s Gathering and Events Order
-Mask order
-Fraser East HSDA order on gathering restrictions
-Interior RHA order on gathering restrictions
-Northern RHA order on gathering restrictions

COVID guidance documents have been discontinued. COVID guidance documents have been discontinued. - Grocery Store Guidance
- Retail Stores (Non Grocery)
- Food Retail
- General Retail
- INSPQ - Hiérarchie des mesures de contrôle en milieu de travail (French only)
- INSPQ - Commerces (INSPQ)
- CNESST - Toolkit for the Retail and Shopping Centre Sector
- CNESST - Q&A
- MAPAQ Q&A
Proof of vaccination requirements Proof of vaccination requirements COVID-19 Operational Plan Template

Proof of vaccination requirements
Proof of vaccination requirements - Emerging Wisely – Path to Eased Public Health Restrictions Guide for employees experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
Requirements

See also:

Be heard. Save money. Stay informed.

Become a member