Some stores have been operating with reduced hours and staff while others have closed. Retail stores are now planning to resume services in mid-May.
Retail stores are now planning to resume services in mid-May. BC’s Restart Plan
provides more detailed information about the province’s step-by-step process to re-open different sectors.
In developing for re-opening or continuing operations, retail organizations are encouraged to implement strategies that support sensible physical distancing (2 metres) and sensible volume of customers in the retail space. Additional actions the sector should think through in developing their proposed plans include:
- Ability to increase throughput of customers and reduce line-ups by opening and maintaining a higher number of check-outs once physical plexiglass barriers are installed between checkouts
- Increased or continued encouragement of on-line shopping, deliveries, and/or pick-ups to reduce volume of visits
- Increasing hours of shopping to decrease density of customers throughout the day
- Encourage or require utilization of basic non-medical masks while shopping in the store to reduce the spread through individuals coughing, sneezing, or close interpersonal contact and therefore increase density
- Use of physical barriers such as plexi-glass
- Messaging regarding not shopping while sick (cold, flu, COVID-19 symptoms) and routine screening/ questions of customers for symptoms checking.
If you do need to visit a mall or store, use common sense approaches to prevent infection and transmission:
- Hand washing
- Sneeze or cough into your sleeve
- Avoid touching your face
- Practice social distancing by keeping 2 metres between yourself and others
- Cleaning: Consider increasing routine cleaning practices – if you are cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces once a day, move to twice a day using the products you already use.
- Space: Consider the density of your business and provide additional space for customers and employees to interact; for example, consider how line ups or seating could be expanded so that people are able to put some distance – 1 to 2 metres – between one another.
- Hand hygiene: Ensure your washrooms remain stocked with soap and consider offering hand sanitizer at entrances.
- Communication: Show your customers, clients, members, and employees what you are doing to support the efforts to slow transmission of this virus by communicating online and at your place of business.
- Employees who feel unwell: Support your employees to stay home if they are sick.
- Public gatherings: Events that bring more than 50 people closely together – indoors or outdoors – are ordered to be cancelled for now.
Buildings large enough to allow for sufficient distance between people, such as grocery stores or malls, may allow more than 50 people in at one time as long as it is not for an event or gathering.