Since the onset of the pandemic, retailers have been implementing safety protocols and spending billions of dollars to ensure the health and safety of their associates and their customers. These safety protocols and procedures go above and beyond any municipal, state or federal guidance. During the height of the pandemic retailers stayed open to provide essential food and cleaning items and pharmacy products, and created best-in-class processes and procedures that remain in place to this day.
When you go into a store, you can see for yourself that employees continuously disinfect carts, baskets, doors and counters. They have put protective screens between cashiers and customers, employees wear PPE and are given health screenings. Supermarkets already have the best ventilation systems available because they display food that people purchase and expect to be free of air borne bacteria. And since the largest big box stores sell groceries, they share that ventilation practice.
Retailers are doing everything they can to operate safely, and it is up to customers to also do their part. Customers should wear a mask when shopping in stores, practice social distancing, utilize hand sanitizing stations and limit the amount of product they touch to the items they want to buy. If customers are sick, they should not be out in stores.
In April, NRF launched Operation Open Doors, a comprehensive, digital guide to help retailers navigate how to operate in the “new normal.” This initiative was developed with input from hundreds of retail industry leaders. It is a holistic approach that provides operational guidelines and considerations for health and safety protocols, and best practices for challenges facing the retail workforce, logistics and supply chain, and litigation and liability issues.
As part of this initiative, NRF held a member-only informational webinar regarding air filtration systems. We are gaining more insight from our members as to the systems they currently have in place, and what needs to be modernized. As more information becomes available regarding airborne transmission of COVID-19, we will continue providing our members with state-of-the-art information on how to reduce that risk as much as possible. Here is a recent NRF blog post on helping retailers evaluate their ventilation systems.
With the ongoing guidance of CDC and other health experts, retailers are continuously refining their protocols to ensure the wellbeing of their employees, customers and communities.