For general workplace guidelines, please refer to COVID-19 Workplace Information. All businesses operating in Saskatchewan must be in compliance with these guidelines. The information below provides specific guidelines for operators of grocery stores.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and people are increasingly concerned about personal protection, it is essential for retail food and grocery stores to ensure safe and reliable access to food, supplies and other provisions – and to take measures aimed at preventing further transmission of the virus. Below are some key steps for the sector to implement during the pandemic.
While food retailers are considered essential and allowed to remain open under the public health order, precautions should be taken to protect the health of workers, customers and the general public.
Effective December 25, capacity restrictions are in place for all retail services as outlined in the public health order. Large retailers must reduce numbers to 25 per cent capacity, while all other retailers must reduce to 50 per cent. Capacity is based on fire code regulations or, when fire code capacity has not been established, ensuring patrons can maintain a minimum of two metres of physical distance.
Masks or face coverings are required in accordance with the masking public health order.
Requirements for Store Operations
Enhance the store's sanitation plan and schedule. Check that the disinfectant used in the store is appropriate for the elimination of viruses. Increase cleaning and disinfection of commonly contacted areas, including door handles, cooler and freezer handles, till conveyances, keyboards, scales, bathroom surfaces, countertops, PIN pads, self-pay stations, hand baskets and light switches. Common touch surfaces include those in areas accessed by customers and employees.
Ensure staff are practising proper hand hygiene and coughing/sneezing etiquette, including:
- Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Using hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly dirty and handwashing isn't available.
- Only using hand sanitizer approved by Health Canada (DIN or NPN number).
- Avoiding touching your face, mouth, nose and eyes.
- Coughing or sneezing into a tissue, then immediately dispose of the tissue and wash hands. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
- Ensuring employee and public washrooms are always well stocked with liquid soap and paper towels, and that warm running water is available. Garbage bins should be emptied frequently. Antibacterial soap is not recommended and has no additional benefit in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- Providing clean carry-out bags for purchased food and grocery products. Customers should be encouraged not to use their own containers, reusable bags or boxes.
- Posting signs indicating that no customer packaging is to be used or placed on checkout counters.
- Not selling bulk items, except via gravity feed bins, where staff dispense the bulk items or where an alternative plan has been reviewed and accepted by health officials. If used, gravity feed bins should be supervised and wiped down between uses.
- Placing hand sanitizer approved by Health Canada (DIN or NPN number) in dispensers or soap and water handwashing stations near doors, pay stations and other high-touch locations for customers and staff. Make wipes and trash bins available for wiping down shopping carts and disposing of the wipes.
- No food or drink sampling is permitted at this time.
Promote physical distancing of customers:
- Use physical line controls, such as crowd control cordons at entrances and checkout lines. Place markers (e.g. tape or cones) every two metres as visible cues to support physical distancing.
- Implement one-way aisles to promote physical distancing and communicate the information through signage and announcements.
- Make announcements at regular intervals over the store speaker reminding customers to stay two metres away from each other.
- Post clear signs in multiple locations indicating the maximum number of customers and staff the store can accommodate at one time.
- Consider monitoring the number of customers and staff entering and leaving the store. Once the maximum number is reached, allow one person to enter for every one person who exits.
- Offer online or telephone orders with delivery or pickup services as alternatives to in-person shopping.
- Glove use is not required. If staff are using gloves, they should be changed after every interaction and when changing tasks after coming into contact with commonly touched areas/surfaces. Hand hygiene must be performed between every glove change (hand sanitizer or handwashing with soap and water).
- Ask customers who arrive with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms (fever, cough or breathing issues) to return home and use a delivery service instead.
- All workers, especially those in constant contact with the public, should self-monitor for symptoms and use the self-assessment tool available at saskatchewan.ca/COVID19.
For additional information, please call the Business Response Team at 1-844-800-8688 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.