Retail Re-opening Resources
For other COVID response resources for retailers and/or employers, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Guide.
CURRENT SAFE START STATUS (LAST UPDATED NOV. 23, 2020)
- Protecting the safety and well-being of both employees and customers is paramount to ensuring we can open up our economy and keep businesses and communities thriving in the state of Washington. This is why the Washington Retail Association has joined forces with 10 other partner associations to launch the “Stay Safe, Stay Open” campaign to promote the importance of facial coverings as a tool to combat this virus. We encourage you to visit this campaign and share these useful promotional materials with your staff and customers. Together we can help save both lives and livelihoods in our state. Stay safe, stay open!
- WR’s Retail COVID Safety Operational Plan and In-store Posters in English and Spanish will also help you prepare for each phase of your reopening.
When the entire retail sector is prepared to meet this challenge by giving consumers the assurance that reopening our economy is gradual and well-thought out, customers will come back with confidence.
Retail opening updates:
- Effective Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 12:01 a.m. thru Monday, Dec. 14: Governor Inslee announced new restrictions on businesses including a reduction on all statewide in-store retail to 25% capacity. See the full list of restrictions.
- Oct. 26 – NRF Foundation adds two new credentialed RISE Up courses; COVID-19 Retail Operations and COVID-19 Customer Conflict Prevention. More information on these and other RISE Up offerings can be found here.
- Oct. 19 – Regional small businesses assistance and grants now available
- Effective Oct. 13 – The Governor announces 5 counties (Yakima, Benton, Franklin, Douglas and Chelan) are moving from modified Phase 1.5 to Phase 2 bringing the total to 22 counties in Phase 2.
- Effective Oct. 6 – Governor Inslee announces updates to his Safe Start plan and additional guidance for restaurants, movie theaters, libraries, youth/adult sports and real estate activities. There is also guidance issued for retail events and craft shows in Phase 3 counties.
- September 21 – The Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) published guidance for jurisdictions and retailers to use a risk-based approach in reopening bulk and self-service displays within the retail food industry.
- Effective Sept. 9 – The City of Seattle has shifted its temporary face coverings rule into a permanent rule for the remainder of the pandemic.
- Effective Aug. 27 – The 5 counties currently in modified Phase 1 which include Benton, Franklin, Chelan, Douglas and Yakima counties will now be at 30% capacity for in-store retail per the Governor’s updated guidance released on Aug. 26. This now means that all in-store retail statewide is at 30% capacity since Phases 2 & 3 were already operating at these levels.
- Effective July 20 – A new 10-person limit on social gatherings for Phase 3 counties will be imposed. This does not apply to businesses or retail stores. See the Governor’s announcement.
- Governor announces pause on all counties moving to the next phase of reopening until July 28.
- Effective July 7 – Governor Inslee announced the extension of the Safe Start proclamation until August 6. Businesses statewide are required to enforce facial coverings on their premises per the Department of Health Secretary’s order issued June 26.
- For tips on facial covering conversations with customers, see de-escalating article here.
- Governor Inslee announces statewide facial covering mandate to take effect on Friday, June 26. Read full memo.
- The Governor has also issued a separate proclamation specific to Yakima county due to the very high rates of infection in that region.
- Resources for employers to balance implementing Labor and Industries’ new emergency COVID guidance and disabilities accommodation requirements.
- Federal resources – the “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws”
- State resources consolidated: Health and/or disability accommodation
- Safe Start Washington: Phased Reopening County-by-County – as of June 8, face coverings are required for all employees with exceptions. For additional guidance, you may consult Labor and Industries’ COVID-19 Common Questions regarding Worker Face Covering and Mask Requirements.
- Issued June 5 – The Governor has released a template for Phase 3 Businesses
- Governor Inslee has released a memo and a set of guidelines for the pet grooming industry.
- The Governor has opened Phase 1 – Curbside retail effective May 8. See Phase 1 requirements.
- Effective May 13 Governor Inslee also released requirements for Phase 2 operations.
- See Phase 2 requirements.
Effective May 26, 2020, previously authorized retail must implement all requirements under Phase 2 In Store Retail.
Re-opening Education Series (upcoming and/or recordings):
Paid leave options have expanded due to COVID. Employers will do well to not only understand the requirements. This presentation offers a side-by-side comparison of the state and federal expanded COVID leaves based on rules and legislation passed.
For retailers who are about to enter Phase II (Limited In-Store) opening, you will learn tips and best practices from retail and safety experts, including marketing after COVID and practical operating experience during COVID. You will gain insights into making the Retail COVID Safety Operational Plan real to build employee and customer confidence.
Retail Doctor explains how to reopen your store
Watch the video here.
Retail consultant Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor, is sharing a short video to help retailers reopen from the coronavirus pandemic with the right attitude and strategy.
Phibbs’ premise is straightforward: he said COVID-19 was a “seismic shock” to the trust customers used to have with retailers. Store owners must win back their customers’ trust to survive the pandemic, he explains in his video.
In short, Phibbs advises:
- Retrain your employees to project hope, not fear or discomfort, with shoppers.
- The key to recovery will be sales approached creatively, not passively. Employees must hone interpersonal skills that can increase sales, not passivity that passes up opportunities to help shoppers make discoveries they did not plan before they came into the store.
- Don’t be intimidated that online sales threaten your store’s chances for recovery. Phibbs says owners, managers and employees must make their store the hub of their brands, not the ugly stepchild of an online competitor.