Grocer and Food Industry COVID-19 Prevention and Care

Last Updated on October 9, 2020

Have a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan

Grocery and food retail establishment employers should have a COVID-19 health and safety plan to protect employees, following CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers.
This plan should be shared with you and your coworkers. Employers should:

Reduce Transmission Among Employees

Take steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if an employee is sick.

  1. Actively encourage sick employees to stay home.
  2. Sick employees diagnosed with COVID-19 shouldn’t return to work until the criteria to discontinue home isolation are met, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
  3. Provide employees with accurate information about COVID-19, how it spreads, and risk of exposure.
  4. Be aware that some employees may be at higher risk for serious illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions. Implement specific policies to minimize face-to-face contact between these employees or assign work tasks that allow them to maintain a distance of six feet from other workers, customers and visitors, or to telework if possible.
  5. Provide training to employees on proper hand washing practices and other routine preventative measures. This will help prevent the spread of many diseases, including COVID-19.
  6. Provide employees with access to soap, clean running water, and materials for drying their hands, and provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol at stations around the establishment for use by both workers and customers.

Maintain a Healthy Work Environment

Institute measures to physically separate and increase distance between employees, other coworkers, and customers., such as:

  1. Configure partitions with a pass-through opening at the bottom of the barrier in checkout lanes, customer service desks, and pharmacy and liquor store counters as a barrier shield, if possible.
  2. Use every other check-out lane to aid in distancing.
  3. Move the electronic payment terminal/credit card reader farther away from the cashier in order to increase the distance between the customer and the cashier, if possible.
  4. Use verbal announcements on the loudspeaker and place signage throughout the establishment, at entrances, in restrooms, and in breakrooms to remind employees and customers to maintain distances of 6 feet from others.
  5. Place visual cues such as floor decals, colored tape, or signs to indicate to customers where they should stand during check out.
  6. Shift primary stocking activities to off-peak or after hours when possible to reduce contact with customers.
  7. Remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in employee break rooms to support social distancing practices between employees. Identify alternative areas such as closed customer seating spaces to accommodate overflow volume.


CLICK on the above image to download a helpful infographic to print or share.


  1. Provide remote shopping alternatives for customers, including click-and-collect, delivery, pick-up, and shop-by-phone to limit customers in the establishment. Set up designated pick-up areas.
  2. Control the flow of traffic into the establishment by ensuring that maximum capacity plans are adjusted and managed at the front door.
  3. Place posters that encourage staying home when sickcough and sneeze etiquette, and good hand hygiene at the entrance to the workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
  4. Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
  5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces within the establishments. If the surfaces are visibly dirty, clean them prior to disinfecting. To disinfect, use products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2external icon, diluted household bleach solutions prepared according to the manufacturer’s label for disinfection, or alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and are appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s directions for use.
    • Clean frequently touched shelving, displays, and reach-in refrigerator units nightly when closed to the public.
    • Conduct frequent cleaning of employee break rooms, rest areas, and other common areas.
    • Clean grocery carts and baskets.
    • Require employees to clean out lockers nightly to facilitate overnight deep cleaning processes.
  6. Provide disposable disinfectant wipes, cleaner, or spray so employees can wipe down frequently touched surfaces such as workstations, cash registers, credit card touch pad, door handles, conveyer belts, tables, cart handles, and countertops.
  7. Follow all applicable local, state, and federal regulations and public health agency guidelines.

Maintain Healthy Business Operations

  1. Designate a person who is responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns. Employees should know who this person is and how to contact them.
  2. Consider using a hotline for employees to voice concerns anonymously.
  3. Implement flexible worksites (telework) for office staff to the extent feasible.
  4. Limit travel for multi-store personnel to only what is required for critical facility functions. Whenever possible, conduct conversations through phone calls.
  5. Leverage closed-circuit television (camera systems) to remotely view facilities as opposed to physically visiting the location.
  6. Implement flexible sick leave and supportive policies and practices. Consider drafting non-punitive emergency sick leave policies if sick leave is not offered to some or all employees. Employers should not require a positive COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work.
  7. Provide information on who to contact if employees become sick. If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  8. Implement a system in which relief workers rotate into the cashier station to allow cashiers to leave the station to wash their hands regularly.
  9. Consider decreasing open business hours to perform more frequent deep cleans.

For more information regarding HR policies during the COVID-19 crisis, or other HR needs, contact MyHRConcierge at 1-855-538-6947 x.108 or email