SAFE STORE Guidelines for retail establishments

Retailers who have been deemed essential are guided by these Essential Safe Store Rules, which guide safety in those locations for employees and customers.


Occupancy, store layout, and managing customer flow

  • Occupancy capped at 50% of store capacity. At entrance, staff will maintain a count of the number of customers entering and exiting stores.

  • Clearly mark 6-foot spacing in lines on floor at checkout lines and other high-traffic areas and, as much as practicable, provide ways to encourage 6-foot spacing in lines outside the store.

  • Post conspicuous signage and floor markings to direct customers and limit bottlenecks and/or encourage spacing and flow in high-density areas.

  • Have aisles be one-way in stores where practicable to maximize spacing between customers. Identify the one-way aisles with conspicuous signage and/or floor markings.

  • Maximize space between customers and employees at checkout lines, including, but not limited to, only using every other checkout line, where and when possible.

  • Install Plexiglas shields to separate employees from customers at checkout lines and other areas in the store where practicable.

  • Retail pharmacies that have a drive-thru window and lack personal protective equipment (PPE) or physical barriers at the locations where they interact with the public shall use the drive-thru for the purposes of receiving and dispensing prescriptions.  Pharmacies with drive-thru windows shall not, however, be utilized for dispensing anything other than prescribed drugs.  Pharmacies without a drive-thru shall comply with all of the Essential Safe Store Rules and utilize delivery wherever possible.


General Safety Measures

  • Communicate with customers through in store signage, and public service announcements and advertisements, there should only be one person per household during shopping trips, whenever possible.

  • Ensure that the facility has a sufficient number of employees to perform all measures listed here and under the Safe Workplace Rules for Essential Employers effectively and in a manner that ensures the safety of the public and employees.

  • Ensure that all employees who do not speak English as their first language are aware of procedures by communicating the procedures, either orally or in writing, in their native or preferred language.

  • Masks or cloth face coverings for employees and customers:

    • Each employee shall be required to wear a mask or other cloth material that covers his or her mouth and nose at all times while a store is open to customers or as otherwise required under separate DECD workplace guidance.  Employers shall issue such masks or cloth face coverings to their employees.  In the event an employer is unable to provide masks or cloth face coverings to employees because of shortages or supply chain difficulties, employers must provide the materials and CDC tutorial about how to create a cloth face covering, or compensate employees for the reasonable and necessary costs employees expend on such materials to make their own masks or cloth face coverings.

    • Each retail facility shall require customers to wear a mask or cloth face covering while inside such retail facility, provided that no customer shall be required to wear a mask or cloth face covering if doing so would be contrary to his or her health or safety due to a medical condition, the customer is under two years of age, or is an older child if the parent, guardian or person responsible for the child is unable to place the mask safely on the child’s face.

  • If a person declines to wear a mask or face covering because of a medical condition as described above, such person shall not be required to produce medical documentation verifying the stated condition.

Other Protective Measures

  • It is recommended that employees will wear gloves at all times that they are interacting with customers and/or handling products.

  • Discontinue all self-serve foods, drinks (e.g., salad bar, olive bar, coffee bar) and product sampling.

  • Allow “touchless” credit card transactions. If not possible, sanitize credit card machines (including pen) regularly and consistently.

  • Encourage use of online ordering by providing delivery or outside pick-up.

  • Grocery stores, big box stores, and wholesale clubs should designate a specific time for high-risk and elderly persons to use the business at least once every week.

  • Schedule handwashing breaks for employees at a minimum of every two hours.

  • Cart and basket handles sanitized between uses (by staff).

Grocery Store Quick Guide:

Grocers and food markets must follow the Safe Store Rules that cover retail establishments in Connecticut. For grocery stores in particular, this includes:

•    Capping occupancy at 50% of store capacity.
•    Marking 6 feet of spacing in checkout lines.
•    Changing aisles to be one-way wherever practicable.
•    Installing Plexiglass shields to separate employees from customers at checkout lines.
•    Discontinuing self-serve foods and product sampling.
•    Allowing touchless credit card transactions.
•    Sanitizing cart and basket handles between uses.
•    Employees wearing gloves and face masks whenever they are interacting with customers and/or handling products.

For the full list of rules, please visit the DECD "Safe Store" page.

As of March 26, 2020, employers may not require employees to bag any item in a customer-provided reusable bag. In addition, the tax on single-use checkout bags has been temporarily suspended.