Retail reopens Tuesday to 10 people at a time; what you need to know

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is allowing stores across mid- and southern Michigan to open their doors to 10 people at a time starting Tuesday, May 26.

The Governor used the term “by appointment only.” Michigan Retailers Association is interpreting this as a walk-in style of retail: Shoppers can come to your store and walk in if you’re under capacity. If you’re over capacity, then they can wait in line – as is already happening occasionally at essential stores – or they can make an appointment or simply come back at a different time.

In other words, we’re encouraging consumers not to get hung up on the words “by appointment.” They should feel comfortable going to their favorite shopping district and optimistic that they’ll be able to pop into many stores that aren’t at capacity.

The parts of the revised Safer at Home order (Executive Order 2020-96) that directly relates to retail by appointment states:

Section 8(a)(20) on page 7 of the order: [Residents may leave home to] go to a retail store by appointment, as permitted under section 11(q) of this order. 

Section 11(q) on page 11 of the order: Beginning at 12:01 am on May 26, 2020, workers [allowed to leave home and return to work are those] necessary to perform retail activities by appointment, provided that the store is limited to 10 customers at any one time. For purposes of this order, retail activities are defined:

(1) As the selling of goods and the rendering of services incidental to the sale of the goods (e.g., any packaging and processing to allow for or facilitate the sale and delivery of the goods).

(2) To exclude those places of public accommodation that are closed under Executive Order 2020-69 and any orders that may follow from it.

After the order was release, MRA’s President and CEO Bill Hallan expressed disappointment that all stores weren’t able to open before the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

“Retailers have been preparing for weeks to reopen, so they’re ready. We urge northern Michigan stores that are reopening their doors tomorrow to follow the best practices and safety measures to keep their employees and customers safe. As MRA advised, all retailers throughout Michigan should have been able to open their doors ahead of Memorial Day weekend. Now most retailers in Michigan are unnecessarily missing out on important holiday weekend sales.

“We look forward to working with the Governor to accelerate the opening process. Every day retailers are closed is another day we’ll lose more stores.

“Michigan Retailers Association stands ready to help our members and retailers across the state as we move into this next phase of reopening.”

Here are guidelines for how you must conduct business:

Retailers who choose to open to the public must comply with the following restrictions laid out in Executive Order 2020-97:
  • Create communications material for customers (e.g., signs or pamphlets) to inform them of changes to store practices and to explain the precautions the store is taking to prevent infection.
  • Establish lines to regulate entry in accordance with capacity limits noted below, with markings for patrons to enable them to stand at least six feet apart from one another while waiting. Stores should also explore alternatives to lines, including by allowing customers to wait in their cars for a text message or phone call, to enable social distancing and to accommodate seniors and those with disabilities.
  • Adhere to the following restrictions:
    • For stores of less than 50,000 square feet of customer floor space, must limit the number of people in the store (including employees) to 25% of the total occupancy limits established by the State Fire Marshal or a local fire marshal.
    • Stores of more than 50,000 square feet must:
      • Limit the number of customers in the store at one time (excluding employees) to 4 people per 1,000 square feet of customer floor space.
      • Create at least two hours per week of dedicated shopping time for vulnerable populations, which for purposes of this order are people over 60, pregnant women, and those with chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease.
    • The director of the Department of Health and Human Services is authorized to issue an emergency order varying the capacity limits described in this subsection as necessary to protect the public health.
  • Post signs at store entrance(s) instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face covering when inside the store.
  • Post signs at store entrance(s) informing customers not to enter if they are or have recently been sick.
  • Design spaces and store activities in a manner that encourages employees and customers to maintain six feet of distance from one another.
  • Install physical barriers at checkout or other service points that require interaction, including plexiglass barriers, tape markers, or tables, as appropriate.
  • Establish an enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocol for high-touch areas like restrooms, credit-card machines, keypads, counters, shopping carts, and other surfaces.
  • Train employees on:
    • Appropriate cleaning procedures, including training for cashiers on cleaning between customers.
    • How to manage symptomatic customers upon entry or in the store.
  • Notify employees if the employer learns that an individual (including a customer or supplier) with a confirmed case of COVID-19 has visited the store.
  • Limit staffing to the minimum number necessary to operate.

There are additional requirements for all businesses that are open laid out in E.O. 2020-97 in section one on pages 2-4. This includes providing masks to all employees; developing a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan and make it available to employees, customers, etc by June 1 or within two weeks of reopening (MRA created a template for businesses to use when creating their own plan – you can download it here); require face coverings when employees and customers cannot maintain six feet of distance; designating supervisors to monitor compliance at all times and increasing facility cleaning standards.