Retailers Create COVID-19 Store Protocols for Holidays

Retailers are taking numerous steps to ensure the safety and comfort of employees and customers. According to a new survey of about 300 retail executives from UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group), “Evolving Retail Trends for the 2020 Holiday Season,” 91% of respondents are confident, and 54% are “extremely” confident, that stores will be open and fully operational on Black Friday (November 27).

However, 83% of respondents say closing a store during the busy holiday season due to COVID-19 is not unthinkable, and 53% say they would voluntarily shut down store operations and tell employees to stay home if their region were experiencing rising cases of COVID-19. If stores are forced to close for an extended period during the holiday season, 59% have a contingency plan to keep store associates employed.

More than seven in 10 (72%) respondents anticipate store employees will feel anxious or stressed about COVID-19 while at work, and 81% think it’s possible that employee concerns about the virus could lead them to quit mid-season.

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Two-thirds of respondents (67%) reported that store employees tested positive for COVID-19 in 2020, and 76% say they “realistically” expect some associates will test positive during the holiday season. Almost all respondents (95%) believe they have an obligation to notify employees who may have been in contact with a co-worker who tests positive for COVID-19.

However, while 90% of respondents think it’s important that their stores implement a COVID-19 contact tracing program before the holiday season begins, only about half say it’s very (28%) or extremely (26%) likely this will be rolled out to all stores in time.

To protect people in stores, 55% of respondents will conduct employee health screenings before each shift, and 28% will cover the cost of testing for employees experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of health coverage…  Chain Store Age


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