Governor Sununu has announced an updated Stay At Home order titled "Stay At Home 2.0" which will begin the transition of opening the state up a bit more but without threatening to create a second wave of COVID-19. This does not mean business as usual for NH Auto Businesses, in fact, the guidelines include several mandatory provisions that go into effect immediately.
CRITICAL NOTE: there are mandatory requirements for retail businesses and businesses in general that go into effect now for all essential retail establishments like essential auto businesses that are already open. This includes mandatory face masks for all employees and verifying employee temperatures.
If your business has followed the NHADA recommended guidelines, you will be further along than most other retail businesses.
Throughout the post and at the end, you will see our solutions to many of these requirements.
Effective on May 11, 2020, all retail establishments may open their physical facilities to workers, customers, and the public and resume in person operations if they operate in accordance with the following State of NH Guidelines. I have listed all the requirements below and have included some NHADA solutions that will help your business comply.
Retail establishments who are currently open due to provision of Essential Services must begin operating in accordance with these guidelines immediately.
- All staff must wear cloth face coverings at all times when in the retail facility and in public locations or shared staff areas (e.g. break rooms), even if other individuals are not immediately present. Purchase Face Masks
- Provide training on cloth face coverings based on CDC guidance for Use of Cloth Face Coverings. See NHADA’s DIY Face Covering Tutorial here | Purchase Face Masks
- People wearing face coverings must not touch their eyes, nose, mouth, or face, or adjust their face mask without first sanitizing hands. After touching face or adjusting mask, hands must be sanitized.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer must be made readily available for both staff and consumers at entrances and exits to the retail facility, at checkout locations, and in staff break rooms and other commonly used staff areas. Order sanitizer from NHADA here
- Stagger shifts, breaks, and meals, in compliance with wage and hour laws and regulations to maintain social distancing.
- Provide regular updates and training for employees about personal COVID-19 mitigation and store safeguards based on CDC guidelines.
- Require all employees to report any symptoms of COVID-19 or close contact to a person with COVID-19 to supervisor.
- Staff must be screened (questioned about) for symptoms of COVID-19 before each shift. Staff with any symptoms must not be allowed to work.
- Staff should be instructed to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others (staff and customers) at all times. Prohibit congregating in break rooms or common areas and limit capacity of such areas to allow for a safe social distancing of at least 6 feet whenever possible.
- Restrict interaction between employees and outside visitors or delivery drivers; implement touch-less receiving practices if possible
- Develop a process for limiting the number of customers inside a store at a given time, excluding employees and representatives of third-party delivery companies, to 50 percent or less of store occupancy based on New Hampshire’s Building and Fire Code.
- Ensure any waiting line outside the store has demarcations spacing customers at least 6 feet apart.
- Customers should wear cloth face coverings at all times when inside the store. Signage and staff should request this before customers enter the store.
- Consider dedicated shopping hours or appointment times for the elderly and medically vulnerable persons.
- If feasible and reasonable, establish one-way aisles and traffic patterns for social distancing.
- Where appropriate and possible, implement pay-ahead and curbside pickup and/or delivery service options to minimize contact and maintain social distancing. See NHADA’s list of Inspection stations that offer Covid-Safe procedures for inspections (If you don’t see your store here, let us know!)
- Assign dedicated staff (i.e. a safety officer) to monitor social distancing and compliance with protective actions, and to prompt customers and other staff about the importance of social distancing, hand hygiene, and use of cloth face coverings.
- Add social distancing reminder signage, personal and floor stickers in key areas in the store (e.g. check-out counters). View our selection of COVID-19 Signage
- Offer self-checkout and/or self-bagging options when possible
Business Process Adaptations:
- Services should preferably be paid for electronically, but retailers may accept cash or check.
- Establish enhanced cleaning protocols that follow CDC guidance relating to cleaning and disinfection for COVID-19. This includes cleaning and disinfecting shared resources and frequently touched surfaces every two hours. Check-out lanes should be wiped down and cleaned between each customer. (See NHADA’s Cleaning Checklist)
- When possible, use a clearly designated entrance and a separate clearly designated exit to maintain social distancing.
- Use plastic shields or barriers between customers and clerks at service counters and clean them frequently.
- Adjust store hours to allow time for enhanced cleaning.
- Continue to prohibit the use of reusable bags.
- Suspend the sampling of food and personal hygiene products.
- Task management-level employees within a store (i.e. a safety officer) to monitor compliance.
- Respect the right of business owners to have requirements over and above these recommendations
Very similar to what NHADA has been recommending for the past 6 weeks, the State of NH has published "universal guidelines" for businesses that are currently open. The following is only a summary of a few things but please note the temperature taking requirements:
- Employees should stay at home if they are unwell and exhibiting signs of covid-19 and should notify their supervisor.
Employers must develop a process for screening all employees reporting for work for COVID-19 related symptoms as follows:
- a. Identify a location and assign a person who will screen each employee every day before they enter the work-place. Such plans should be clearly communicated with employees. The person performing the screening should wear a cloth face covering/mask. All employees (see guidance below) should also wear a cloth face covering while at work and in potential close contact with others.
- b. The screener should ask the following questions:
i. Have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?
ii. Have you had a fever or felt feverish in the last 72 hours?
iii. Are you experiencing any respiratory symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, or shortness of breath?
- iv. Are you experiencing any new muscle aches or chills?
- v. Have you experienced any new change in your sense of taste or smell?
- c. Document the temperature of all employees daily before their shift:
- Employers should take the temperatures of their employees on-site with a non-touch thermometer each day upon the employees arrival at work. If this is not possible, temperatures can be taken before arriving as long as it can sufficiently be authenticated by the employee. Normal temperature should not exceed 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Employers must handle employee(s) who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms (e.g. Answers “yes” to any of the screening questions or who is found to have a fever) as follows:
a. Instruct the employee to leave the premises immediately and to seek medical advice (see employee guidance below). Per EEOC and other pertinent guidelines, employers must maintain the confidentiality of employee health
b. Prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace. Do not make determinations of health risk or health status based on race or country of origin.
- All employees should also wear a cloth face covering while at work and in potential close contact with others
- Allow employees to work from home when possible
- Mitigate exposure through face coverings, social distancing, flex schedules, limit in person meetings
- Employers must strongly promote frequent hand hygiene and alcohol-based hand sanitizer must be made readily available
- Implement workplace cleaning and disinfection practices (See NHADA’s Cleaning Checklist)
- Follow CDC guidelines
- Covered employers and employees should be reminded of the provisions of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act : This law allows for paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons, such as for self-quarantining or seeking a medical diagnosis for COVID-19 symptoms.
- Update the employee Illness policy
COVID-19 Products (NHADA Online Store)
We’ve listed many of the solutions NHADA has been promoting for the past six weeks. Here are some of those same solutions and more to help you with the new State of NH Guidelines.