Grocery stores

Last updated May 28, 2021.

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Grocery stores can help protect both employees and their customers from COVID-19. Personal and environmental cleaning practices and physical distancing are critically important. Recommended practices for grocery stores are listed below.


  • The worksite must notify and cooperate with their local public health agency on next steps.

  • Local public health agency contacts can be found here.

  • Outbreak guidance for non-healthcare facilities can be found here

Guidance for employers

  • Encourage employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Consider hosting an employee vaccination event through CDPHE’s workplace vaccination program.

  • Encourage adequate spacing (6 feet) between customers and staff.

    • In areas of high-volume traffic, consider spacing tools, such as tape markers on the floor, to keep customers and employees adequately spaced.

    • Consider physical barriers such as sign stands, ropes, and sneeze guards.

    • Consider assigning staff to help monitor and enforce social distancing.

  • Prominently display signs that communicate with customers and staff the actions they can take to minimize risk. This includes physical distancing, good hygiene and sanitation practices, and wearing masks if unvaccinated.

  • Place alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol) hand sanitizers for employees and customers at convenient and accessible locations, such as near entrances and self-check-out screens.

  • Make sanitizing wipes easily accessible to customers, or have an employee sanitize high-touch objects between each customer use. 

  • Appoint a designated sanitation worker to continuously clean and sanitize commonly touched surfaces, including shopping carts, basket handles, door handles, counter tops, and cash machine keypads. (Additional Guidance). 

  • Appoint one employee per shift to monitor staff and customers for adherence to safety measures.

  • Conduct daily temperature checks and monitor symptoms in employees, logging all results. Refer symptomatic employees to the Colorado COVID Symptom Support tool. Maintain employee confidentiality at all times.

  • Require employees to stay at home when showing any symptoms of sickness.

    • Employees who are sick should notify their supervisor and stay home. Those with a fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms should follow the directions for self-isolation and seek medical attention if needed.

    • Employees who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should not be expected to report to work (unless they have been fully vaccinated). They should stay home, self-quarantine, and monitor themselves for symptoms. 

    • Employees who were sick may be eligible to return to work if they meet the following criteria*:

      • At least 24 hours have passed since fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medications; and 

      • There has been improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,

      • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

  • Provide employees with masks and gloves.

  • Consider requiring masks for customers and employees.

  • Stagger/alter shifts to reduce the number of employees in the store at once.

  • Limit exposure for employees at higher risk. Consider assigning these employees to shifts that limit exposure to the public. 

  • Provide dedicated in-store visit hours for high-risk populations.

  • Encourage order-ahead, curb-side, online shopping, and delivery options.

  • Prohibit self-serve foods, including hot bars, cold bars and buffets.

  • Prohibit product sampling.

Guidance for customers
  • Unvaccinated people are strongly encouraged to wear masks indoors when around people from other households. For more information, visit CDPHE’s guidance for wearing masks webpage.

  • Keep 6 feet of distance between yourself and other customers or staff inside and outside of the store.

  • If you are at higher risk, refrain from shopping outside of dedicated hours set aside for those who are more at-risk.

  • Sanitize hands, surfaces, and touched objects.