Retail Operations Guidelines

Beginning Saturday, 13 March 2021, the following post circuit breaker measures are in place until mid April 2021. The measures will be reassessed throughout.

This guideline applies to all retail businesses, including but not limited to clothing retailers, big-box retailers, food, alcohol, and cannabis retailers, shopping malls, book stores, convenience stores, bargain retailers, and electronics retailers.

Required Measures

Core measures required by all businesses, services, and organizations:

  • Develop an operational plan detailing methods to mitigate transmission of disease.
  • Take every reasonable step to ensure physical distancing (including employees and/or clients) of two metres (six feet) between each other.
  • Take every reasonable step required to prevent employees who are required to self-isolate from entering workplaces.
  • Develop and follow an exclusion policy that ensures symptomatic employees are immediately excluded from work activities.
  • Ensure enhanced cleaning and disinfection of shared areas and surfaces.
  • Ensure hand washing stations or hand sanitizing products are available and accessible to all employees.

Workplace measures:

  • Encourage employees to self-screen before coming to work and stay home if sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Screen employees each day for symptoms of COVID-19 and send symptomatic employees home with advice to call 811 for testing.
  • Encourage physical distancing of two metres (six feet) between all employees and customers.
  • Implement measures to reduce physical contact and, where possible, limit the number of employees in the store at one time, including flexible work hours and staggered start times, breaks, and mealtimes.
  • Implement measures to limit the number of customers permitted in the store to ensure physical distancing.
  • Ensure employees and customers have easy access to hand sanitizer with at least 60% - 80% alcohol and/or hand-washing stations and no-touch disposal receptacles.
  • Clean and disinfect shopping carts as frequently as possible, and ensure disinfected shopping carts are available for customers.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces at least twice a day or more, including doorknobs, light switches, and railings.
  • Increase washroom cleanings and consider limiting the number of available stalls and urinals to discourage overcrowding in washrooms.
  • Consider closing meeting rooms or implement controls on the number of employees permitted in common areas and meeting rooms to ensure physical distancing is maintained.
  • Update return policies to protect employees and customers from the risk of transmission of COVID-19.  This may include:
    • Eliminating the opportunity to return purchased goods,

    • Cleaning and disinfecting returned goods if possible before placing them back on the sales floor, and/or

    • Storing goods for a period of 24 hours before placing them back on the sales floor.

  • Support vulnerable populations by providing access to dedicated store hours and/or curbside pick-up and/or delivery.
  • Offer online and telephone orders with delivery and/or pick-up services if possible.
  • Remove features that encourage customers to congregate or linger in place – benches, dining areas, sofas and seating areas.
  • Encourage customers to refrain from touching and handling merchandise to minimize handling of objects between multiple individuals. If an item is shared between individuals,
    • Hand hygiene should be performed before and after handling a shared item.
    • Hard-surfaced items should be frequently cleaned and disinfected.
  • Soft-surface items or other items that cannot be cleaned and disinfected may be isolated for a period of 24 hours.
  • Print and post signage at all entries and throughout the store outlining policies and procedures such as:
    • Physical distancing expectations,

    • Hand hygiene,

    • Coughing and sneezing etiquette, and

    • Cleaning and disinfection practices.

  • Print and post signage at entries into the store to notify customers that they should not enter if they have symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat and painful swallowing, stuffy or runny nose, and/or loss of sense of smell.

Employee measures:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60%-80% alcohol if soap and water are not available.  
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or sleeve, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Maintain a two metre (six foot) distance between co-workers and customers at all times.
  • Avoid sharing of equipment and supplies.
  • Launder uniforms between shifts if possible.
  • If employees must travel together, follow the Carpooling and Essential Transport Guidance.
  • Should employees choose to use gloves, ensure thorough hand-washing before and after each change of gloves.
  • It is strongly recommended that non-medical masks be used by employees when physical distancing cannot be maintained.  Non-medical masks and gloves are not a replacement for any of the above measures.

Layout and customer flow measures:

  • Use floor markings where service is provided or lines form to ensure two metre (six feet) physical separation.
  • Use floor markings to promote one-way flow through the store.
  • Consider monitoring the number of customers and staff entering and exiting the store and, where possible, regulate to prevent congestion by establishing a line-up area outside of the store.

Point-of-sale (POS) measures:

  • Physically distance cashiers from customers or install physical barriers when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Use floor markings at point-of-sale to indicate where customers should stand to maintain physical distancing.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect POS devices, touch screens, and conveyer belts at staffed check-outs and self check-outs.
  • Encourage customers to use cashless payment when possible.
  • Encourage customers to pack reusable bags themselves, and refrain from placing reusable bags on check-out counters.

Measures for clothing retailers:

  • Consider updating return policies to protect employees and customers from the risk of transmission of COVID-19.  This may include:
    • Eliminating the opportunity to return purchased goods,
    • Cleaning and disinfecting returned goods if possible before placing them back on the sales floor, and/or
    • Storing goods for a period of at least 72 hours before placing them back on the sales floor.
  • Use of change rooms is permitted at the discretion of the retailer.
  • Consider reducing the number of change rooms available to facilitate monitoring and enhanced cleaning.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces in change rooms between customers.
  • Ensure customers have easy access to hand-sanitizer with at least 60%-80% alcohol, and no-touch disposal receptacles, in the changing room area.
  • Encourage customers to use hand sanitizer before trying on clothes.


Published date: 
December 7, 2020
Health and Wellness

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121