How Retail Industry Workers Can Protect Themselves and Customers From Ongoing Health Risks

Brick-and-mortar retail stores face unique business challenges to protect employees and customers from ongoing health risks. While many retailers have used technology to replicate or replace in-store shopping experiences, physical storefronts are essential for meeting customer needs, like coordinating product returns and supporting in-store browsing.

Protecting Retail Workers From Health Risks

Retail employees face ongoing health risks given the close contact and high-touch nature of retail work. Store owners and management are directly responsible for protecting their teams and customers, but retail employees should also take additional precautions to limit the potential spread of illness.

Our Healthier Workplaces: Guidance for the Retail Industry Guidance Document, 2nd edition, offers practical advice for how retail industry employers and employees can safely conduct in-person work. The guidance borrows from the latest advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and expert advice from other leading health and government organizations.

These guidelines share actionable steps and recommendations to protect retail shoppers and employees, including information on the following key areas:

  • How retail store employees can minimize their health risks:
    • Recommended personal protective equipment for retail employees and shoppers

    • Best practices to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 or similar viruses while navigating retail environments

    • What store employees should do if they feel the urge to sneeze or cough at work

    • Disinfection protocols for store areas, including points of sale and fitting rooms

    • Recommended ways to best communicate with customers in a safe and distanced way

  • How retail store owners can protect their workers and customers:
    • Guidance on how to enable physical distancing in retail store environments, including solutions like e-commerce and contactless curbside pick-up to reduce the amount of in-store traffic

    • Communications tools and best practices to keep employees and customers aware of the latest safety protocols

    • Ways to rearrange store merchandise and displays with distancing in mind

    • Considerations for store restroom or bathroom facilities, including cleaning procedures

Download our Healthier Workplaces: Guidance for the Retail Industry Guidance Document, 2nd edition guide to learn proven strategies to protect retail store employees and customers.

Additional Retail Environment Safety Resources

To access more help and resources to understand and avoid the health risks of retail work, we recommend you explore the following resources and networks.