Guidance for grocery stores to minimize the spread of COVID-19
As of April 15, 2021, all people in Washington state age 16 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Due to limited supply of vaccine, not everyone will be able to access a vaccine right away. Access will improve as the federal vaccine supply improves and providers in King County receive more doses.
As an essential business, grocery stores can play an important role in protecting their employees and customers from COVID-19 by following these recommended personal and environmental hygiene practices. All grocery stores must meet the operational standards put forth by the WA Dept. of Health (DOH). View DOH Guidance for grocery stores.
- Maximum occupancy is limited to 25% of full occupancy.
- Masks are required for all employees and customers, in accordance with the order from the Washington State Secretary of Health.
- Apply the social distancing recommendations to any lines that form inside or outside of the store. In areas of high-volume traffic, utilize spacing tools for checks and lines. Put tape on the floor to keep customers adequately spaced.
- Self-service foods are allowed, with restrictions. See the DOH guidance sheet (linked above) for details.
Prohibit product sampling
- Appoint a designated sanitation worker at all times to continuously clean and sanitize commonly touched surfaces and meet the environmental cleaning guidelines set by the CDC.
Conduct daily checks for symptoms of illness and ensure employees stay home when they are sick
- Ensure that employees practice washing their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds upon first arriving to work, after using the restroom, before and after eating and frequently throughout the day. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Provide alcohol based (60%) hand sanitizers for use for both employees and customers by placing them at convenient/accessible locations. Ensure there is a way to sanitize shopping cart and basket handles – either by making wipes easily accessible to customers or by having employees manage the process and sanitize between each customer use.
- Frequently sanitize commonly touched surfaces and objects such as electronics, door knobs, faucet handles, counter tops, cash machine key pads, shopping cart handles frequently throughout the day. Change the sanitizing solution at least once every four hours.
- Consider temporarily assigning employees at high risk for coronavirus to non-public-contact duties, such as people with underlying health conditions, people 60 or older, people with underlying health conditions, those with weakened immune systems or those who are pregnant.
- Offer designated shopping hours for customers at high risk, including people with underlying health conditions, people 60 or older, people with underlying health conditions, those with weakened immune systems or those who are pregnant.
If you are a food business owner or a food worker and have questions related to your operation, please reach out to your Environmental Health Investigator or call 206-263-9566 to speak with office staff. For the latest information, please visit the following site: www.kingcounty.gov/COVID