Guidance for retail businesses

Last Updated: 24 Aug 2020 2:14pm

To help stop the spread of coronavirus, it is important that all retail businesses comply with their obligations to enforce physical distancing and maintain good hygiene practices.

The Tasmanian Government’s announcement of easing COVID-19 restrictions includes the requirement for businesses and workplaces to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan, before reopening or expanding their current business model in line with the easing of restrictions.

More information, checklists and templates are available to assist you develop your COVID-19 Safety Plans.

Guidance for permitted businesses

The following guidelines are intended to assist retail businesses to meet their obligations with regard to the current restrictions that have been put in place based on health advice.

Each business will need to adapt these suggestions to best suit their own environment, taking into account size, layout and customer behaviour.

Customer numbers

To ensure physical distancing can be maintained:

  • Limit the number of customers entering the store – the total number of people in your store, at any one time, including staff and customers, should not exceed one person for every two square metres. Read about how to apply this rule.
  • Where safe and practical, each person should maintain a distance of no less than 1.5 metres between every other person.
  • Make sure you have a plan that details the maximum number of people for each undivided area. Consider specific limits on the number of people for each aisle within the store.
  • Place a staff member at the entrance to the store to count customers entering and leaving the store and to manage a ‘one in one out’ policy where needed. For smaller stores consider alternative strategies to controlling the numbers in the store, or a closed door with appointments.
  • Consider one-way aisles to make these limits easier for everyone to comply with.
  • Where possible, consider limiting the number of available carparks to align with the person limit in your store, but still maintain access to disability parking spaces.


To maintain physical distancing, place appropriately spaced floor markings at queuing points, such as checkouts and the entrance to the store. At larger stores, queuing stations need to be clearly identified outside the store.


For larger retail stores, appropriate security measures could be put in place to ensure compliance with physical distancing obligations. Smaller retailers may consider similar measures, depending on the layout of their store.

Staff also have a key role to play in monitoring the behaviour of customers and ensuring measures put in place to achieve appropriate physical distancing are followed.


Provide clear signage to:

  • Advise unwell customers, contractors and delivery staff not to enter the premises.
  • State the maximum number of customers/staff/ contractors allowed in the store and in each aisle, including floor plans of the store.
  • Remind customers of physical distancing requirements.
  • Remind all people in the store of appropriate hygiene requirements.
  • Request customers use cashless payment methods.

For larger stores, consider including these messages in your store announcements.

Practical measures

  • Encourage your customers to use cashless payments when possible to minimise contact.
  • Increase support for online shopping and delivery services to lessen demand on in-store services.
  • Re-arrange stock where possible to improve customer flow and minimise congregating.
  • Where practical, move staff to night-fill to reduce numbers of people in store.
  • Consider how your product limits apply to customers with very large families.
  • Where alternate entries are closed, ensure fire and emergency egress are maintained.
  • If the number of car park spaces is reduced to ensure physical distancing requirements, consider the need for traffic management as required.
  • Consider a dedicated hour of shopping for elderly customers, those in need of assistance, as well as carers, friends and neighbours who shop on behalf of customers at risk of moderate to severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Finally, remind customers to be tolerant, kind and patient with staff and other customers. These changes will cause inconveniences, but they are necessary to keep us all safe.

Cleaning, hygiene and infection control

  • Ensure unwell staff do not come to work.
  • Encourage staff to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, and dry them.
  • Provide hand sanitiser for customer use in clearly accessible locations, including at the entrance to the store.
  • Regularly clean frequently touched surfaces such as trolleys, shopping baskets and counters.
  • Use a tissue (or the inside of your elbow) to cover coughs or sneezes and dispose of the tissue in the rubbish bin straight after use.