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Retailers propose blueprint for reopening stores

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Phased approach aims to keep customers, employees safe

WASHINGTON — Two retail trade groups on Monday released a multi-step plan for reopening those stores shuttered due to the coronavirus.

The Blueprint for Shopping Safe from the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association suggests a phased approach to reopening those stores that have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and urges governors to issue uniform, statewide protocols for retailers that would aim to keep employees and customers safe.

“As conversations turn to the reopening of the economy, retailers are uniquely situated to provide input, because we’ve been on both sides of the stay at home orders,” RILA president Brian Dodge said. “Groceries, pharmacies and other retailers that have remained open have implemented practices and protocols that are keeping employees and communities safe. The Blueprint released today builds off those successful operating practices. Our goal is for the safe reopen of retail, and we want everyone, policymakers, employees and our customers to know that the industry is ready to shop safe.”

NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay agreed that safety has to be a top concern.

Retailers’ number one priority is customer safety, employee safety, and store and facility environment safety,”  he said. “Since the onset of the pandemic, retailers have been following the guidance of the CDC and other public health experts and are taking additional measures to keep their employees and customers safe.”

The retail groups said their blueprint was developed in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and benchmarking by leading retailers with a focus on ensuring the health and wellness of employees and customers. Retailers have been learning from each other throughout this crisis, sharing leading practices and protocols to keep stores clean and sanitized, and keeping customers and employees as safe as possible.

The Blueprint details three phases for reopening retail:

  • Phase 1 – Allow E-commerce, Contactless Curbside Pickup & In-Home Delivery
  • Phase 2 – Re-Open Stores to the Public, with Social Distancing Protocols & Reduced Occupancy
  • Phase 3 – Establish Protection, Then Lift All Restrictions

“Consistent guidelines – without overburdensome regulatory schemes – across all levels of government is critical,” Shay said. “As an industry, we are committed to working with the Administration, Congressional and state leaders, and the professional medical community to help all families Shop Safe.”

Added Dodge: “As governors and state health departments evaluate conditions, we want them to have confidence that retailers are adopting the social distancing, hygiene, and sanitization practices necessary to keep customers, employees, and the entire community safe.”


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