Alberta announces retail guidelines for reopening - Retail Council of Canada
Alberta | Coronavirus

Alberta announces retail guidelines for reopening

May 12, 2020

Following Premier Jason Kenney’s recent announcement that non-essential retail stores may reopen as soon as May 14, 2020, the Alberta government has released its Guidance for Retail Businesses,  developed in close consultation with RCC.

This document should be used to support retail businesses in reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Retail businesses should also follow the Workplace Guidance for Business Owners.


  • Workers and patrons should be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Workplaces should have a plan to ensure that any worker or patron who has any COVID-19 symptom is not permitted into the workplace.
  • Businesses should follow cleaning and disinfecting practices described in the workplace guidelines, and should:
    • Keep a log of daily cleaning,
    • Regularly clean and disinfect any surfaces and equipment touched by workers and patrons, and
    • Frequently sanitize washrooms.
  • Shopping baskets and carts should be disinfected between patron use.
  • Surfaces in change rooms should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • Consider options that minimize the risk of spread when trying on garments.
  • Encourage customers to sanitize hands before trying on clothes.
  • Workplaces should keep and monitor an inventory of personal protective equipment to ensure that workers always have access to appropriate protective equipment if required.

Layout and patron flow

  • Place appropriate signage around all entries and throughout the business outlining policies and procedures such as:
    • Physical distancing expectations,
    • Hand hygiene,
    • Coughing and sneezing etiquette, and
    • Cleaning and disinfection practices.
  • Make hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol available at as many of the following locations as possible: entrances, exits, escalators, change rooms, and checkout counters for public and staff use.
  • Consider restricting and directing customer flow into and within the business (e.g., one point of entry and exit, identify patron flow throughout the store with signage).
  • Consider limiting the number of patrons allowed in the business at any given time.
  • Support vulnerable populations with access to dedicated store hours, delivery or curb side pickup.
  • Encourage patrons to exit the business as quickly as possible following their purchase or completion of their visit.
  • Encourage curbside pickup for online purchases.


  • Take precautions at the point of sale to reduce transmission.
    • Physically distance cashiers from patrons or installing physical barriers.
    • Create markers to indicate where shoppers should stand while waiting in line to maintain physical distance.
    • Clean and disinfect touch screens at self check-outs between patron use.
    • Space out cash counters and self-service check-outs.
    • Ensure gloves are available for workers handling cash.
  • Offer and encourage online or telephone orders with delivery or pick-up services as alternatives to in-person shopping.
  • Update return policies to prevent the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to workers, volunteers and patrons. This may include:
    • Eliminating the opportunity to return purchased goods (i.e. final sale only),
    • Cleaning and disinfecting hard surfaced, returned good prior to placing them back onto the sales floor, and
    • Storing soft-surface items for a period of 24 hours prior to resale.


  • Ensure staff are trained on hygiene, sanitation and any updated policies or procedures related to preventing transmission of COVID-19.
  • Encourage proper hand hygiene and coughing and sneezing etiquette.
  • Allow staff to wear masks if preferred, even if a mask is not necessary for the work they are performing.
  • Stagger staff arrival and departure times, lunch times, breaks and meetings to reduce the number of workers in one place at a given time.
  • Designate lockers and storage spaces to individual workers.
  • Encourage staff to launder uniforms between shifts.
  • Continue to follow existing occupational health and safety (OHS) requirements.

For more information, please contact John Graham at