What can I do as a retailer to create the safest possible COVID-19 work environment for my employees? What safety measures must/should I put in place for my employees?
For more detail, RCC SOPs on workplace safety can be found here.
- Most jurisdictions require worker screening for symptoms prior to entry into the workplace. Workers who fail screening should not enter the store or office, and should put on a mask before going home.
- Employees and customers who are ill must be informed (signage) not to enter the store.
- Many jurisdictions require employees and customers to wear masks in indoor public spaces. See RCC’s Mask Requirement page.
- Break rooms, lockers and employee gathering places such as offices are proven to be places where the virus is most often spread in workplaces. Where possible, schedule breaks and lunch hours at staggered times to reduce interactions. Ensure physical distancing in break rooms, change rooms, outdoor smoking areas, and offices.
- Where employees must carpool to and from work together, try to start and end their shifts at the same time to reduce their interaction with other employees.
- Enhance the workplace sanitation plan and schedule, and ensure staff are practicing proper hygiene. This includes frequent hand washing, coughing or sneezing into an elbow rather than a hand, and avoiding touching one’s face.
- Ensure the washrooms are always well stocked with liquid soap and paper towels and that warm running water is available. Antibacterial soap is not recommended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Provide clean carry-out bags for purchased products while respecting provincial and local laws. You may choose to enact a policy that customer packaging (reusable bags, containers, cups or boxes) will not be handled by workers.
- Use a physical queue line controls such as markers or cordons at entrances and in checkout lines inside stores.
- Where applicable, place markers every 2 metres at checkouts and entrances to provide customers with visible cues that support physical distancing.
- Place alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispensers near doors, payment stations and other high-touch locations for customer and staff use, making wipes and trash bins available for wiping shopping carts and disposing of the wipes.
- Have clear signs at each entrance that indicate the maximum number of customers and staff a store can accommodate at any one time.
- Monitor the number of customers and staff entering and leaving the store. Once the maximum number of persons for a store is reached, allow one person in for every person that leaves.
- Offer online or telephone orders with delivery or pick-up services as alternatives to shopping in person.
- Clean high touch surfaces such as pay stations, bagging areas and carts or hand baskets between each customer and use and encourage tap payment over pin pad use.
- Limit the handling of credit cards and loyalty cards wherever possible, by allowing customers to scan.
- Employees who handle cash or credit card must wash their hands frequently with soap and water. This includes before any breaks, at the end of their shift, and before preparing food.
- Should operators and employees choose to use gloves, employees must wash their hands thoroughly before putting on the gloves and change them regularly. Change the gloves before you handle money or credit card machines, and afterward. Wearing gloves does not reduce the need for hand washing. Even while wearing gloves, employees must avoid touching the face.
Vancouver Coastal Health has a useful resource guide on response to employee sickness or positive COVID-19 diagnosis.