Grocery stores

Last updated April 19, 2021.

Available languages (11/20/2020): Español Tiếng Việt | 中文 | Soomaali  العربية | नेपाली 







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

  • Follow guidance for all indoor businesses.

  • Maintain adequate spacing (6 feet) between customers and staff both inside and outside the store.

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

    • Establish one-way traffic flow through aisles.

    • 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.

  • 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 between each customer use. 

  • Appoint a designated sanitation worker at all times 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.

  • 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
  • In counties with one-week disease incidence rates in excess of 35 per 100,000 (Levels Blue through Purple), you must wear a mask in a store where 10 or more unvaccinated individuals or individuals of unknown vaccination status are present.

  • Maintain adequate spacing (6 feet) 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.