As the COVID vaccines continue to make their way throughout the U.S., guidelines including mandatory facial coverings and indoor capacity limits are lightening up. If things keep going this way and we do not have another outbreak, retailers can soon expect the normal shopping patterns. In fact, a Sage study found nearly three-quarters of U.S. small and midsize businesses expect to see pre-pandemic revenue levels by end of year.
Independent Retailer has all of the most recent COVID-19 state regulation changes right here.
Alabama – UPDATED
Governor Kay Ivey issued her twenty-sixth supplemental emergency proclamation transitioning the state from an amended Safer at Home Order to a new Safer Apart Order, the third phase of COVID-19 pandemic health orders. Masks will no longer be mandated statewide, but individuals are strongly encouraged to wear a mask or other facial covering when in public and in close contact with other people.
For more information, visit covid19.alabama.gov.
Retail businesses must practice at least 6 feet of social distancing between each customer and all employees, it is recommended that cleaning and disinfecting continue to be conducted in compliance with CDC protocols, and facial coverings are recommended for both employees and patrons.
For more information, visit covid19.alaska.gov/reopen.
Any business shall develop, establish, implement and enforce policies that adopt guidance from the CDC, the Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Arizona Department of Health Services to limit and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including intensifying cleaning and disinfection, ensuring physical distancing, and requiring face coverings, among others.
For more information, visit azgovernor.gov/governor/reopening-guidance.
Retail businesses should limit the number of people who can enter the store at one time, encourage social distancing inside the store, provide masks and gloves to employees who wish to use them, clean and sanitize surfaces that are frequently touched, and put up signs around the store reminding customers about COVID-19 health guidelines.
For more information, visit www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/novel-coronavirus.
There are a total of 58 different counties in California, all with their own regulations. The details for each county can be found on the California government’s website. Depending on the severity of the spreading of the virus in each county, retail businesses can operate at 25% capacity (for widespread) or 50% capacity (for substantial).
For more information, visit covid19.ca.gov.
Colorado – UPDATED
All retailers must implement face coverings for both employees and customers, maintain 6 feet of social distancing, and have cleaning and disinfecting measures as advised by the CDC.
For more information, visit covid.colorado.gov.
For all businesses and organizations, capacity limits are now up to 100%, 6 ft. social distancing continues to be required where possible, masks continue to be required in all public settings, and all establishments must follow CDC Cleaning and Disinfecting guidelines.
For more information, visit portal.ct.gov/coronavirus.
While in Phase 2 Reopening, all individuals must wear face coverings while in public, the total number of guests permitted is limited to 50% of the facility’s state fire occupancy requirements as stated in the State of Emergency, and businesses must ensure social distancing of at least 6 feet as well as post signage around the store about how to stop the spread of COVID-19.
For more information, visit coronavirus.delaware.gov.
District of Columbia – UPDATED
Individuals over the age of 9 must wear masks or face coverings when engaging in: essential and minimum basic operations of a business when persons are in the presence of others and essential travel if social distance cannot be maintained. The indoor capacity limit has been raised from 25% to 50%.
For more information, visit coronavirus.dc.gov.
There are 67 counties in Florida, each with their own regulations, so be sure to check their website for your specific county’s regulations. During Phase 3 of Reopening, retail businesses can operate at full capacity but should continue to maintain adequate sanitation practices for employees and patrons, and face masks are recommended.
For more information, visit floridahealthcovid19.gov/businesses.
Georgia – UPDATED
A new executive order from Governor Brian P. Kemp lifted all social distancing protocols for businesses. Georgians are strongly encouraged to wear masks and regularly wash and sanitize their hands. Businesses are encouraged to commit to the Georgia Safety Promise to help instill consumer confidence and empower businesses by taking critical steps to help protect each other during COVID-19, and keep Georgia open for business.
For more information, visit georgia.gov/covid-19-coronavirus-georgia.
The current status of Hawaii regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is to Act with Care, which means residents are recommended to wear face coverings. All customers must wear a face covering while waiting to enter and while at a business. All employees who have any contact with customers or goods to be purchased by customers must wear cloth face coverings compliant with CDC recommendations while at work.
For more information, visit governor.hawaii.gov/covid-19.
Idaho – UPDATED
Businesses should limit the number of patrons in the store at one time, directing the flow of traffic by using floor markings, encourage employees and customers to wear face coverings, and enhance cleaning and disinfecting measures.
For more information, visit www.labor.idaho.gov/dnn/COVID-19.
Phase 3 executive order requires continued use of face coverings when in a public place and unable to maintain a six-foot distance. Face coverings are required in public indoor spaces such as stores. Retailers must provide face coverings to all employees. Retailers can operate at 50% capacity.
For more information, visit dph.illinois.gov/covid19/governor-pritzkers-executive-orders-and-rules.
Face coverings are required for all residents. Businesses that are open to the public must follow county metric guidelines and are required to place clearly visible signage at their public and employee entrances notifying all that face coverings are required. Businesses should only admit only those who wear face coverings and practice social distancing. See county specific guidelines on the state government website for indoor maximum capacity information.
For more information, visit www.coronavirus.in.gov.
Cloth face coverings are recommended and everyone is encouraged to social distance while outside of their homes. Businesses should follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, encourage social distancing, and post signage at the door notifying consumers of how to stop the spread of the virus.
For more information, visit coronavirus.iowa.gov/pages/guidance.
Individuals are strongly encouraged to wear cloth masks in public settings and especially when using mass transit. Employees should follow industry-specific guidance on mask use in workplaces.
For more information, visit covid.ks.gov.
Kentucky – UPDATED
Residents are required to wear face coverings. Businesses must ensure that both employees and customers practice social distancing, provide hand sanitizer for both employees and customers, routinely clean high-touch surfaces, and conduct daily temperature checks for employees.
For more information, visit governor.ky.gov/covid19.
Louisiana – UPDATED
Following sustained improvements in COVID-19 hospitalizations and vaccinations, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that retail businesses no longer have capacity limitations, though social distancing and the mask mandate remain in place along with any other additional measures that may be required by the State Fire Marshal.
For more information, visit coronavirus.la.gov.
Maine – UPDATED
Effective May 24, the capacity limit for indoor gatherings will increase to 75%, and outdoor gatherings to 100%. All residents must continue to wear face masks in public and maintain social distancing measures.
For more information, visit www.maine.gov/covid19.
The use of face coverings continues to be required for all people in Maryland over the age of five in public places and elsewhere across the state. It is critical that businesses follow social distancing guidelines and effective cleaning and disinfection.
For more information, visit coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/business-resources.
Massachusetts – UPDATED
Businesses should ensure that both employees and customers maintain 6 feet of social distancing, require face masks for all employees, and provide regular sanitation for high touch areas.
For more information, visit www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-updates-and-information#regulations-&-guidance-.
Michigan – UPDATED
Businesses must keep everyone on the work site at least 6 feet apart, provide non-medical grade masks to employees, require face coverings for both employees and shoppers, and post COVID-19 guideline signs around the store.
For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/Coronavirus.
All residents are required to wear a face covering in all indoor businesses and public indoor spaces, unless alone. All businesses must implement a Preparedness Plan, limit on-premises capacity to 50 people, require workers to wear masks, and encourage customers to do so.
For more information, visit mn.gov/covid19/business-orgs/resources/index.jsp.
All employees must wear appropriate PPE based on their duties and responsibilities and in adherence with local guidelines/regulations. Every employee who comes into direct contact with customers shall be provided a face mask and shall be required to wear the face covering while on duty.
For more information, visit governorreeves.ms.gov/covid-19.
Missouri – UPDATED
State guidelines for reopening include recommendation that employers implement basic infection prevention measures like use of protective equipment.
For more information, visit dss.mo.gov/covid-19.
Montana – UPDATED
The phased approach to reopening Montana is no longer in force. Residents are encouraged to wear cloth masks or face coverings in public. Employers should develop and implement appropriate policies for social distancing and protective equipment, temperature checks and/or symptom screening, sanitation, and use and disinfection of high-traffic areas.
For more information, visit covid19.mt.gov.
Nebraska – UPDATED
Businesses should encourage face masks to be worn at all times, maintain 6 feet of social distancing between everyone in the store and queue lines should be marked to ensure 6 feet between each customer, and increase cleaning and sanitation for frequently touched surfaces.
For more information, visit dhhs.ne.gov/pages/Coronavirus.aspx.
Nevada – UPDATED
Retail businesses are limited to 50% indoor maximum capacity, must establish 6 feet of social distancing between everyone in the store, require both employees and customers to wear face masks, and increase cleaning and sanitation protocols on all frequently touched surfaces.
For more information, visit www.nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/info/business.
Face coverings are required when indoors and in public or shared areas, even when others are not around. Employers should take the temperature of all employees who enter the store before their shift, follow CDC guidance for cleaning the store, and ensure 6 feet of social distancing between everyone in the store.
For more information, visit www.nh.gov/covid19/resources-guidance/businesses.htm.
All businesses must require employees and customers to remain at least 6 feet apart, require everyone to wear face masks, provide face masks for employees, provide approved sanitization materials to employees and visitors, routinely clean and disinfect all high-touch areas, conduct daily health checks, and not allow sick employees to enter the workplace. All retailers must operate at 50% capacity.
For more information, visit https://business.nj.gov/covid.
New Mexico – UPDATED
Retailers must adhere to maximum occupancy limits per the State’s Public Health Order, utilize signs or floor decals to support 6-foot social distancing, encourage customers to wear face masks, and increase their cleaning and sanitization efforts on frequently touched surfaces.
For more information, visit www.newmexico.gov/jobs-the-economy/.
The Governor requires all individuals over the age of two to wear a face covering when in a public place and unable to maintain a six-foot distance from others, and businesses can deny entry to anyone not wearing a face covering who is over the age of 2 and medically able to tolerate a covering. Essential employees must wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or the public. Employers must provide masks to employees. County specific guidelines for businesses can be found on the government website.
For more information, visit forward.ny.gov.
North Carolina – UPDATED
Face coverings are required when leaving the home and inside all public settings. It is recommended that businesses advise employees to wear cloth face coverings and provide workers with face masks. Indoor maximum capacity has increased to 100% for retail businesses.
For more information, visit www.nc.gov/covid19.
Employees and the public should wear face coverings especially in settings where social distancing may be difficult to maintain. Employers should encourage use of cloth face coverings to employees whose duties require close contact with other employees and/or the public.
For more information, visit www.health.nd.gov/diseases-conditions/coronavirus.
Businesses must require all employees and customers to wear facial coverings, ensure 6 feet of social distancing between everyone, and place hand sanitizers in high contact locations.
For more information, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/home.
Employers are to encourage employees to wear face masks unless they are in a separated workstation or office. Employees who come in contact with the public are encouraged to wear gloves and a mask.
For more information, visit oklahoma.gov/covid19.html.
The Governor recommends that individuals wear cloth masks when in public. Under Mask and Face Covering Guidance for Businesses, retailers must require employees to wear masks. Employers must develop and comply with policies and procedures that provide for accommodations and exemptions from the mask or face covering requirement. These businesses may require customers and visitors to wear face coverings.
For more information, visit coronavirus.oregon.gov/.
Businesses must increase their cleaning and disinfecting efforts, enforce face coverings for both employees and customers, and enforce social distancing measures. All businesses can operate at 75% capacity.
For more information, visit www.governor.pa.gov/covid-19.
Everyone is encouraged to wear face masks outside of their houses, maintain at least six feet of distance, and practice regular hygiene and washing their hands.
For more information, visit www.salud.gov.pr/Pages/coronavirus.aspx.
Rhode Island – UPDATED
All persons are required to wear a mask or cloth face covering at all times when inside grocery stores, pharmacies, or retail stores. Businesses must clearly mark off 6 ft. spacing in checkout lines, allow up to one customer per 100 square feet of store area, and follow CDC cleaning guidelines. Beginning May 7, retailers can operate at 80% capacity, and beginning May 28, indoor capacity increases to 100%.
For more information, visit health.ri.gov/covid.
Reopening guidance for businesses encourages employees to wear masks or cloth face coverings, especially in settings where social distancing is not feasible. Cloth face coverings should be optional for employees with underlying respiratory illness, but if not worn, social distancing must be performed.
For more information, visit scdhec.gov/infectious-diseases/viruses/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19.
It is recommended that everyone wear a cloth face cover when they go out in public.
For more information, visit covid.sd.gov.
Businesses must strongly encourage face coverings for all employees and guests in public places where close proximity to others is anticipated, screen for COVID-19 symptoms, mitigate exposure in the workplace by implementing social distancing practices, implement cleaning and disinfection practices according to CDC recommendations, and use signage, floor markings or other cues to direct human traffic flow and manage lines.
For more information, visit www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19.html.
On March 2, 2021, Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-34 to provide that there are no COVID-19-related operating limits for any business or other establishment and individuals are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings over the nose and mouth wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing.
For more information, visit dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus.
Masks are required for employees of businesses when individuals are unable to socially distance. Otherwise, masks are strongly recommended. Businesses shall post signage indicating that patrons are expected to wear masks.
For more information, visit coronavirus.utah.gov.
Businesses must implement physical distancing, health and sanitation measures. Employees must wear face coverings over their nose and mouth when in the presence of others. In the case of retail cashiers, a translucent shield of sneeze guard is acceptable in lieu of a mask. Businesses may require customers or clients to wear masks.
For more information, visit www.healthvermont.gov/response/coronavirus-covid-19.
All businesses must implement appropriate social distancing guidelines along with the proper signage, practice routine cleaning and disinfection, and require both employees and customers to wear face coverings.
For more information, visit www.virginia.gov/coronavirus.
Washington – UPDATED
Retail establishments must limit occupancy to 25%. Businesses must also arrange contactless pay options, pickup, and/or delivery of goods wherever possible, place signs around the store for safe customer flow, frequently sanitize high-touch areas, provide PPE supplies to workers, ensure all employees are wearing face masks, screen employees for symptoms of COVID-19 at the start of their shift, and encourage customers to wear face masks.
For more information, visit coronavirus.wa.gov.
West Virginia – UPDATED
Individuals over the age of 9, except for those who have trouble breathing, must wear face masks in public. All businesses must post signs and ensure requirements are being followed. All previous capacity limitations for retail stores have been lifted. These businesses must still continue to follow all applicable safety guidelines, including, but not limited to, mandatory face coverings and social distancing.
For more information, visit dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx.
Individuals are required to use cloth face coverings while in public. Businesses must limit indoor capacity to 25% and require face coverings for both employees and customers.
For more information, visit wedc.org/reopen-guidelines/.
To the greatest extent feasible, stores should limit crowding and encourage social distancing for personnel and patrons, offer or enhance alternative shopping methods, including online shopping, curbside pickup, and delivery options, provide shoppers and personnel with wipes or other disinfectants to use on carts, handles, touch pads, or other frequently touched areas, increase cleaning and sanitation as much as possible, and encourage both employees and customers to wear face coverings.
For more information, visit covid19.wyo.gov.
Just like the United States, Canada’s provinces have their own regulations regarding COVID-19 and have travel restrictions from one province to another. Information for each province can be found on the Government of Canada’s website, but they encourage all residents to social distance, stay home if they’re ill, wear a face mask, and practice good hygiene.
For more information, visit www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/guidance-documents.html.