Retail group pushes guidelines for reopening businesses

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The National Retail Federation (NRF) on Monday unveiled new guidelines for safely reopening stores closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The NRF’s “Operation Open Doors” plan, which was developed with input from hundreds of leaders in the retail industry, prioritizes health and safety, people and personnel, logistics and supply chain, and litigation and liability.

As multiple states move to reopen businesses, the NRF suggests stores enact social distancing and hygiene measures, including having a minimal number of employees working at the same time and ensuring social distancing by using markings or plexiglass shields.

It also calls for personal protective equipment (PPE) like face coverings or gloves to be used by employees and customers and for the government to provide a national guidance on health screenings and testing for COVID-19.

“NRF’s retail leaders are primarily focused on customer safety, employee safety, and store and facility environment safety. Consistent guidelines across all levels of government — without overburdensome regulatory schemes — are critical,” NRF CEO Matthew Shay wrote in a letter to President Trump promoting the guidelines.

“Some businesses may wish to screen employee temperatures when entering the premises,” Shay wrote. “Like PPE, thermometers and diagnostic tests are in short supply. Federally consistent guidance, standardization of testing protocols and uniform documentation for employers will be critical to success. It will also take time to acquire equipment and establish protocols.”

The new NRF guidelines largely align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s safety practices for essential businesses that, unlike retail stores, have remained open in recent weeks.

The retail industry group’s guidelines involve taking employees’ temperatures, monitoring symptoms, wearing a mask, social distancing and disinfecting workspaces.

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