State announces new social distancing guidelines for large retailers, customers

Institute new cleaning mandates, crowd control measures for staff

Posted

PROVIDENCE — Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott announced new guidelines issued by the Department of Business Regulation for retailers and grocers as part of the state’s response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, March 26,, all retailers and grocers must:

  • Allow no more than 20% of stated fire capacity in the store at a time;
  • Require staff to count the number of customers entering and exiting the store and enforce limits;
  • Clearly mark 6’ spacing in lines and other high-traffic areas. Stores should consider posting signage or using ropes to direct customers and to limit bottlenecks/encourage flow in high-density areas of stores;
  • Designate employees to monitor social distancing and assist customers;
  • Maximize space between customers and employees at checkout;
  • Designate employee(s) to ensure the cleaning guidelines set by the CDC are followed;
  • Discontinue self-serve foods and product sampling; and
  • Offer exclusive hours for those in high-risk populations, including seniors, where stores will restrict entrance to maintain 10% of fire capacity.

Larger grocery stores and retailers with more than 25,000 square feet are encouraged to offer pickup and/or delivery options.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.