As Covid-19 restrictions start to ease in the United States, the National Retail Federation (NRF) has released a comprehensive set of guidelines called “Operation Open Doors” to help retailers reopen their stores. These guidelines cover three main areas: “Employees,” “Logistics/Operations,” and “Health Policy.” The NRF aims to provide practical advice to retailers on how to navigate the challenges they face during this new situation.

When it comes to employees, the NRF emphasizes the importance of implementing protocols to limit the spread of the virus and responding effectively if an employee contracts Covid-19. Retailers are also urged to consider the needs of vulnerable employees or those who may be hesitant to return to work. Factors such as childcare and unemployment benefits should be carefully assessed as they may affect an employee’s ability or willingness to return.

In terms of logistics and operations, the NRF advises retailers to familiarize themselves with new signage requirements, review fitting room and returns policies, and promote “contactless” payment options. For beauty retailers, the NRF suggests prohibiting or removing fragrance and beauty testers to minimize the risk of contamination.

In the area of health policy, the NRF outlines a series of measures to ensure the safety and well-being of both employees and customers. This includes implementing enhanced cleaning and sanitization practices, the use of masks and personal protective equipment (PPE), and providing specific employee training. The NRF also provides suggestions for promoting social distancing in stores, such as using floor markers, conducting temperature screenings, implementing capacity limits, and reminding customers of hygiene and physical distancing guidelines through audio announcements.

While some states like South Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Alaska have allowed retailers to reopen, there are still restrictions on opening times, PPE usage, and customer capacity. Mississippi, Montana, and Tennessee have also joined the list of states reopening their stores, but they have their own specific guidelines and restrictions in place.

Retailers can find a complete list of the guidelines by visiting the NRF website and accessing the “Operation Open Doors” check-list. As the retail industry starts to navigate this “new normal,” the NRF aims to provide support and ensure the safety of both employees and customers during this challenging and unprecedented time.

For more information and resources, retailers can visit the NRF website (linked here: https://nrf.com/) and access the “Operation Open Doors” check-list (linked here: https://nrf.com/open-doors).