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INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC GUIDELINES FOR RE-OPENING RETAIL ESTABLISHMENTS IN UTAH
June 02, 2020


All information in this COVID-19 Response Resource issue is effective as of June 2, 2020.

On May 15, 2020, Utah’s Governor Herbert issued an Order stating that the COVID-19 public health risk status would move from orange (moderate risk) to yellow (low risk) for many Utah counties beginning Saturday, May 16. However, pursuant to another Order issued on May 29, 2020, three areas in Utah remain in the orange moderate risk category. Those areas are: Salt Lake City, the town of Bluff, and the census-designated place Mexican Hat.[1] The Order from May 29 superseded prior orders and is in effect until June 5, 2020 at 11:59pm. Notably, areas can request a modification to their status (e.g., to go from orange to yellow), and some areas have been moved from yellow to orange after further evaluation.

The risk-levels and respective safety measures to be taken by employers and employees are detailed in version 4.5 of the Utah Department of Health’s Phased Guidelines for the General Public and Businesses to Maximize Public Health and Economic Reactivation (“Phased Guidelines”). It is important to recognize that the May 29 Order requires businesses to comply with the provisions of the Phased Guidelines that correspond to the risk level of the area they operate in (i.e., businesses in low risk areas must comply with the Phased Guidelines for low risk areas). However, where the Phased Guidelines state that an employee should wear a face mask, the Order appears to modify that requirement so that an employee must only wear a face mask when the employee “is unable to maintain a distance of six feet from another individual.”[2]

In addition, to assist employers with protecting employees who are high-risk[3] for COVID-19, the Utah Labor Commission has also issued guidance for developing safety measures in the workplace. The Phased Guidelines and the guidance from the Labor Commission provide general as well as industry-specific measures.

This memorandum provides the industry-specific guidelines for retail establishments in Utah’s low and moderate risk areas. For a breakdown of general guidelines that apply to all industries in addition to the specific guidelines provided here, review page 11 of the Phased Guidelines and pages 2–3 of the Labor Commission’s guidance. 

I. PHASED GUIDELINES FOR RETAIL ESTABLISHMENTS IN MODERATE RISK AREAS

This section covers retail establishments, including grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores,[4] in moderate risk areas. These establishments must “create a safe environment for customers and staff with frequent reminders on distancing and hygiene.”[5] The Phased Guidelines also recommend:

(1) For all retail establishments:

(a) Ask employees and customers to wear face coverings, which are extremely important in the retail setting;

(b) Post signs to remind customers to stand six feet apart from others, including when outside and in check-out lines;

(c) Deliver products through curbside pickup or delivery - employees may come closer than six feet to other employees and customers only when accepting payment or delivering goods or services but a face covering must be worn;

(d) Assign a low-risk employee to disinfect shopping carts and baskets after use;

(e) Limit the amount of customers in the establishment to easily maintain a six-foot distance between customers and employees at all times – install partitions where it is not possible to maintain six feet between employees and customers;

(f) Provide hand sanitizer at check-out counters as well as entrances and exits;

(g) Set a window of time for high-risk customers to shop;

(h) Limit purchase quantities on high-demand goods;

(i) Implement one-way aisles;

(j) Discourage the attendance of kids and use of strollers in store when possible to provide as much space as possible in aisles; and

(k) Make frequent announcements to remind customers to physically distance.[6]

(2) For grocery and pharmacy establishments, specifically:

(a) Separate order and delivery areas to prevent customers from congregating in confined areas;

(b) Do not allow customers to self-serve ready-to-eat food items, excluding fresh produce;

(c) Make bulk items available only if individually packaged;

(d) Do not allow customers to bring reusable bags, mugs, etc. from home; and

(e) Waive prescription delivery fees for customers, if possible.[7]

II. PHASED GUIDELINES FOR RETAIL ESTABLISHMENTS IN LOW RISK AREAS

This section covers retail establishments, including grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores,[8] in low risk areas. These establishments must “exercise discernment, establishing principles for [a] safe environment and public trust.”[9] The Phased Guidelines also recommend:

(1) For all retail establishments:

(a) Ask employees and customers to wear face coverings for interactions that take place within a six-foot distance;

(b) Post signs to remind customers to stand six feet apart from others, including when inside and in check-out lines;

(c) Assign a low-risk employee to disinfect carts and baskets regularly;

(d) Open the establishment to normal customer capacity if social distancing guidelines can be maintained – install partitions where it is not possible to maintain six feet between employees and customers;

(e) Provide hand sanitizer at check-out counters as well as entrances and exits;

(f) Set a window of time for high-risk customers to shop;

(g) Implement one-way aisles; and

(h) Deliver products to high-risk customers through curbside pick-up or delivery when possible.[10]

(2) For grocery and pharmacy establishments, specifically:

(a) Separate order and delivery areas to prevent customers from congregating in confined areas;

(b) Make bulk items available only if individually packaged;

(c) Allow customers to bring reusable bags from home;

(d) Waive prescription delivery fees for high-risk customers, if possible; and

(e) Self-serve food areas must follow the guidelines for dine-in restaurants on page 23 of the Phased Guidelines (this does not include fresh produce).[11]

III. LABOR COMMISSION GUIDANCE FOR ALL RETAIL ESTABLISHMENTS

To protect high-risk employees of retail establishments, the Labor Commission recommends that employers:

(1) Allow high-risk individuals to perform stocking duties for when customers are not present;

(2) Assign low-risk employees to:

(a) customer-facing work, such as cashiering;

(b) handle returns that cannot be disinfected;

(c) restock clothing from dressing rooms; and

(d) conduct housekeeping in public areas;

(3) Provide alternate work hours to accommodate high-risk employees, as necessary.[12]

To ensure compliance with the Governor’s Order; the Phased Guidelines; and the Labor Commission’s guidance; it is strongly recommended that employers seek legal advice prior to re-opening or requiring employees to return to the workplace.

For questions, please contact Christina Jepson by sending an email to cjepson@parsonsbehle.com or calling 801-536-6820.

 

[1] https://rules.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/Utah-Executive-Order-No.-27.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[2] https://rules.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/Utah-Executive-Order-No.-27.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[3]  High risk individuals include those who are 65 or older; live in a nursing home or long-term care facility; have chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma; have serious heart conditions; are immunocompromised; are severely obese or have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or liver disease; or are pregnant. Pregnant women have not been shown to be at higher risk for COVID-19, specifically, but are “known to be at risk with severe viral illness.” https://laborcommission.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/COVID19RECOMMENDATIONS (last visited June 1, 2020).

[4] Please note that the guidelines for convenience stores is found under the industry-specific guidelines for both retail establishments and restaurants. To see the guidelines for restaurants, view page 10 of the Phased Guidelines.

[5] https://coronavirus-download.utah.gov/Health/Phased_Health_Guidelines_V4.5.3_05262020.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[6] https://coronavirus-download.utah.gov/Health/Phased_Health_Guidelines_V4.5.3_05262020.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[7] https://coronavirus-download.utah.gov/Health/Phased_Health_Guidelines_V4.5.3_05262020.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[8] Please note that the guidelines for convenience stores is found under the industry-specific guidelines for both retail establishments and restaurants. To see the guidelines for restaurants, view page 12 of the Phased Guidelines.

[9] https://coronavirus-download.utah.gov/Health/Phased_Health_Guidelines_V4.5.3_05262020.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[10] https://coronavirus-download.utah.gov/Health/Phased_Health_Guidelines_V4.5.3_05262020.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[11] https://coronavirus-download.utah.gov/Health/Phased_Health_Guidelines_V4.5.3_05262020.pdf (last visited June 1, 2020).

[12] https://laborcommission.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/COVID19RECOMMENDATIONS (last visited June 1, 2020).