As Connecticut's retail stores reopen, the State wants to enable economic activities and demand to come back, while prioritizing the health and safety of employees and consumers. Various types of retail stores present different levels of interaction and potential to violate social distancing rules. For example, fitting rooms present challenges not posed by electronics stores. This set of rules developed by the State of Connecticut aims to mitigate the risks presented in all retail stores.
Businesses must exercise caution throughout the reopening, ensuring strict adherence to the rules listed here. Those businesses that are not able to meet the rules listed here by May 20, shall delay opening until they are able.
While these rules provide a way for retail stores to reopen as safely as possible, risks to customers and employees cannot be fully mitigated. Customers who choose to visit stores during this time should be aware of potential risks. Individuals over the age of  or with other health conditions should not go shopping, but instead continue to stay home and stay safe.
Businesses should take these rules as the minimum baseline of precautions needed to protect public health in Connecticut. Individual businesses should take additional measures as recommended by industry guidelines or by common sense applied to their particular situation. We urge customers to stay vigilant and pay attention as to whether retail establishments they frequent are faithfully implementing these rules.
STATE GUIDANCE FOR RETAIL & MALLS
These rules are intended to help retail stores safely get back to work. The information here can be supplemented with guidance from professional organizations and by other industry groups, some of which are listed below. These guidelines may be updated.
NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION
RETAIL INDUSTRY LEADERS ASSOCIATION
CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND
Occupational Safety and HealthAdministration
PLAN FOR REOPENING
Share these rules with your employees and inform them of any additional specific measures being taken in response to COVID-19.
Appoint a program administrator who is accountable for implementing these rules
Develop cleaning plans and checklists that incorporate these guidelines. Ensure it is clear which employees are responsible for implementing the plans.
The employer shall institute a training program and ensure employee participation in the program. The training shall be provided at no cost to the employee and during working hours. The training materials shall be presented in the language and at the literacy level of the employees. Employers shall continuously update staff on changes to these Sector Rules. The training shall include:
• Guidelines outlined in this document
• Protocols on how to clean and use cleaning products (incl. disinfectants) safely
• Additional guidance can be found here:
NOTE: If any on-site duties are subcontracted, it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure subcontractors are also appropriately trained.
Estimate required personal protection for employees and begin procuring.
Complete a thorough cleaning of facility prior to reopening, including:
• Staff break rooms
• Commonly touched areas in front of stores, such as baskets and carts
Maintain a log of employees on premise over time, to support contact tracing.
Stagger shift start/stop times, break times, and lunchtimes to minimize contact across employees.
Stores shall consider having designated hours for vulnerable populations (e.g. the elderly or those with underlying health conditions).
Complete the self-certification on the DECD website to receive a Reopen CT badge. Once complete, businesses can choose to post the badge on-site and on social media to advertise adherence to CT rules and build customer confidence.
Post clear signage that reinforces new policies (include signage in multiple languages where employees and/or clientele are not native English speakers), including:
• Social distancing protocols
• Cleaning and disinfection protocols
• Personal protection protocols (facemasks, gloves) for customers and employees
• Employees shall stay home if sick/experiencing symptoms
• Customers shall not enter if they are experiencing symptoms
• Additional signage can be found here:
For facilities with central ventilation systems, increase ventilation rates and increase the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system where possible. For facilities where a central ventilation system is not used, window air conditioning units or unit ventilators should be adjusted to maximize fresh air intake into the system; blower fans should be set on low speed and pointed away from room occupants to the extent possible. Ceiling fans should be adjusted so that fins are rotating in a direction that draws air up toward the ceiling rather than down onto occupants. Window fans should be turned to exhaust air out of the window in the direction of the outdoors. Window fans that blow air into a room or free-standing fans that only serve to circulate existing air around a room should not be used.
SOCIAL DISTANCING MARKERS
Install visual social distancing markers to encourage customers to remain 6 ft apart (e.g. lines outside of the stores if applicable, lines to make payments, lines to use the restroom).
Use partitions between employees where a 6 ft distance cannot be maintained, where possible.
Rearrange space to maintain 6 ft of distance between customers and limit movement of employees within facility.
• Install physical barriers for checkout stations where possible
• Assign employees to workstations where they remain through workday
Ensure employees do not share equipment to the extent possible; if shared, clean after each use.
DISCRETE WORK ZONES
Where possible, segment the workspace into discrete zones, prevent movement between zones, and close spaces where employees congregate.
Install touchless appliances wherever possible, including:
• Paper towel dispensers, soap dispensers, trash cans
Any clothes tried on by a customer must either be quarantined for 24 hours or thoroughly steam cleaned prior to returning to the floor
HOTLINE FOR VIOLATIONS
Post clear signage that includes the state hotline (211) for employees and customers to report potential violations of these rules.
PERSONAL PROTECTION FOR EMPLOYEES
• All employees are required to wear a facemask or other cloth face covering that completely covers the nose and mouth. Employees that cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition must provide documentation to their employer.
• Employees may utilize their own cloth face covering over that provided by their employer if they choose.
• Gloves and eye protection are required when using cleaning chemicals.
EMPLOYERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR PROVIDING PERSONAL PROTECTION TO THEIR EMPLOYEES
• If businesses do not have adequate personal protection, they cannot not open.
PERSONAL PROTECTION FOR CUSTOMERS
• Customers are required to bring and wear a facemask or cloth face covering that completely covers the nose and mouth.
• Businesses have the right to refuse service to an individual who is not wearing a mask.
Hand sanitizer shall be made available at entrance points and common areas, where possible.
Ensure employees wash their hands routinely (at minimum, between customers) using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
CLEANING OR DISINFECTING PRODUCTS, &/OR DISPOSABLE WIPES
Make available near commonly used surfaces, where possible (e.g. cash registers, credit card machines, light switches, and door handles).
Clean and disinfect frequently, and implement use of cleaning log for tracking. Clean multiple times a day and hourly during busy times.
• Recommend posting signage encouraging reduced capacity in bathrooms, and reminding individuals to wash their hands and wear a mask
• Consider placing a wastebasket outside of the bathroom
CLEANING & DISINFECTING
Businesses shall follow federal guidelines (CDC, EPA) on what specific products shall be used and how.
• Disinfectants are irritants and sensitizers, and should be used cautiously. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g. door handles, cash registers) at least daily and shared
objects (e.g. payment terminals, baskets, carts) after each use.
• Use products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2 and that are appropriate for the surface. Prior to wiping the surface, allow the disinfectant to sit for the necessary contact time recommended by the manufacturer. Train staff on proper cleaning procedures to ensure safe and correct application of disinfectants.
DAILY HEALTH CHECK
Ask employees resuming on-premise work to confirm they have not experienced COVID-19 CDC-defined symptoms and to monitor their own symptoms, including cough, shortness of breath, or any two of the following symptoms:
• Repeated shaking with chills
• Muscle pain
• Sore throat
• New loss of taste or smell
Employees should stay home if sick.
IN THE EVENT OF A POSITIVE
Employees shall inform their employers, and follow state testing and contact tracing protocols. In addition:
• Employee should contact local public health to initiate contact tracing.
• Recommend 24-hour passive decontamination in the event of a positive case, and follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting.
• Additional information can be accessed at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/general-business-faq.htm
Employers shall adhere to federal guidance pertaining to paid leave for employees and provide this guidance to employees. Employers shall post the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Department of Labor poster. The poster can be accessed at: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/posters
• Additional guidance can be accessed at: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave
Employers may not retaliate against workers for raising concerns about COVID-19 related safety and health conditions.
• Additional information for the public sector can be accessed at www.connosha.com
• Additional information can be accessed at www.whistleblowers.gov
DINING AREAS/FOOD COURTS CAN OPEN PER SECTOR RULES FOR RESTAURANTS
ENHANCE SECURITY PRESENCE
• Enhance security guard patrols to break up or eject congregations of people larger than allowed under the rules.
• Enhance security guard patrols to enforce the rules on no consumption of take-out foods inside malls.
Make doorways single-direction flow
Close satellite restrooms where necessary; implement frequent cleanings of main restrooms with cleaning logs.