April 3, 2020

Statement From Senators Kasser and Kushner Re: New Safe Store Rules

Starting tomorrow, Friday April 3, all retail stores now open in Connecticut will be required to adopt “Safe Store Rules.” These rules were issued Wednesday, April 1 by Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7S and are intended to increase and standardize safety precautions for employees and customers across the state.

The Safe Store Rules stem from an ongoing discussion with the Lamont administration originated in March by Senators Kasser (D-Greenwich) and Kushner (D-Danbury), when they sent the administration a list of best practices from other states to prevent exposure to the COVID-19 virus in retail settings.

“We are grateful to Governor Lamont and DECD Commissioner Lehman for listening to us and developing and implementing this set of protocols that will protect people’s safety during this COVID-19 crisis,” they said.
Sen. Kasser, who is a doctoral candidate at Yale in Environmental Health Law and Policy, said as soon as the governor issued his “Stay Safe, Stay Home” policy on March 20, she began thinking about how to minimize peoples’ exposure to virus molecules in the stores that remain open.

“This is a strong and comprehensive set of safety protocols that take effect tomorrow, at a time when being extra cautious is the smart thing for businesses as well as the general public,” Sen. Kasser said.

She recommends additional safety tips for consumers that include: limiting trips to the store to just once or twice a week; wearing gloves and covering eyes/nose/mouth to limit exposure to virus molecules; and sanitizing all surfaces touched either by gloves or shopping bags, including car door handles, steering wheels, and kitchen counters.

“As I drove around my district, I could see that stores varied widely in what they were doing – some were limiting customers inside and sanitizing cart handles, others were not. Workers in essential businesses that remain open are now on the front lines of this crisis, and they deserve protection,” said Sen. Kushner, who is the former Director of United Auto Workers Union, Region 9A. “When I read the governor’s executive order last night about new retail store precautions, I felt so encouraged that we are moving in the right direction. While the virus continues to plague us, we are fighting back and we will get through this together.”

“Our message to the public is simple: stay home!” Sens. Kasser and Kushner said. “But when you do have to go shopping, following the Safe Store Rules will protect you, your family, and the people who are going to work every day to provide you with essential services.”

The new rules, which are effective at the open of business tomorrow, Friday April 3, include:

  • Occupancy is capped at 50% of actual store capacity. At entrances, staff will maintain a count of the number of customers entering and exiting stores.
  • Clearly mark six-foot spacing in lines on floor at checkout lines and other high-traffic areas and, as much as practicable, provide ways to encourage six feet of social distance 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 one-way traffic aisles 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.
  • Communicate with customers that there should only be one person per household during shopping trips, whenever possible.
  • Discontinue all self-serve foods (i.e. salad bar, hot foods bar) and product sampling.
  • Allow “touchless” credit card transactions. If not possible, sanitize credit card machines (including pen) regularly and consistently.
  • Cart and basket handles should be sanitized between uses by staff.
  • Wherever possible, employees will wear gloves and face masks at all times that they are interacting with customers and/or handling products.