Ensuring your employees, customers and retail store are safe. 

How to Prepare to Open Back Up for Business

While it’s an unquestionably difficult time for retail during COVID-19, it will pass. Preparing for opening your physical store back up can provide you with some optimism and positivity, as well an action plan for future success. Some preparation ideas for opening back up include:

  • Have Your In-Store Tools Ready to Go: If you did any upgrading while your brick-and-mortar store was closed, be sure those new solutions are set up, ready to go, and have been thoroughly tested. Contact your POS software and/or hardware technical support teams if you have any issues during testing so that you can get the kinks worked out ahead of time and hit the ground running when you reopen your doors.

  • Have Your safety signage, floor stickers, plexiglass etc.:  Ensure that your 6 feet space stickers are placed on your floor, that all signage explaining your safety rules are large and easy to see/read. Putting up plexiglass barriers for your cashiers and announcing customer limited for your store is important. Consider placing "wait-line spacers" outside your street entrance for patrons waiting to go into your establishment. 

  • Maintain New Practices: You’ve likely adopted lots of good hygiene, e-commerce, marketing, and staff training habits during COVID-19. When your store reopens and life gets busier, don’t let those great habits fall to the wayside.

  • Send a Notice to Employees: Once your local and provincial government gives the green light to reopen and provides guidelines for doing so, share all relevant information with employees prior to their first day back. The letter included health and safety guidelines for employees and guests, personal hygiene reminders, and rules for deliveries and in-home visits. For example, the letter told employees to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth; avoid collecting signatures for deliveries; and stay home if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has lab-confirmed COVID-19. Remember to ask if employees have any questions, suggestions or concerns—as Schweig did in his letter—so they know you value their opinion and care about their safety.

  • Your customers' experience: Your customers are going to be looking for a familiar shopping experience that also puts their very real fears of a pandemic at ease. Retailers will need to create or re-create shopping environments that emphasize cleanliness and support a more distanced way of shopping. Actions can include:

    • enhanced e-commerce and pick-up-in-store options

    • re-organized physical store structures to accommodate more pick-up orders, additional self check-outs, and reduced clutter in the aisles

    • increased physical protection of fresh foods while aiming to preserve an efficient and enjoyable shopping experience

    • an increased presence of hand-washing and sanitizer stations

    • increased availability of protective equipment for employees and customers

  • Announce Your Reopening: It’s the moment every retailer is looking forward to announcing to your customers that you are reopening! On top of communicating to your customers via website, social media, and email that you are opening back up for business, consider having a “welcome back” sale. And most importantly, remember to thank your valuable customers for standing by you during a difficult time

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services Guidance on Health and Safety for Retail Sector during COVID-19


The below is not a legal document and employers are advised to seek legal advice. Employers and constructors have obligations to protect workers from hazards in the workplace as set out in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations and the directives coming from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Click the documents below for Retail focused advice during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

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