COVID-19 Measures in Grocery Retail

The COVID-19 virus stormed the world since the beginning of the outbreak in China at the end of 2019. The global pandemic has since spread to more than 150 countries, currently paralysing social events, slowing down economic development and leaving governments struggling to find solutions to mitigate the ensuing crisis.

As more and more countries instigate social distancing and isolation measures to “flatten the curve” *, educational and cultural institutions, gastronomy and hospitality businesses are just to name the few of the businesses that needed to close their doors to the customers they serve and depend on.

In this difficult time of disruption, grocery retail remains as one of the pillars of the steady functioning society enabling people access to their daily necessities.  Their employees are currently working restlessly to ensure efficient operations to keep the stores stocked-up, and prevent the widespread of panic and fear.

To help retailers with this task in an unprecedented time in history, Foley Retail Consulting compiled a list of measures for grocery retailers to implement and mitigate their risks.

Identifying the symptoms

  • Temperature measuring (fever sensor) from a distance implemented for all employees/suppliers
  • Encouraging all employees feeling unwell, to report it and isolate themselves

Reducing operational risk

  • Separating shifts in warehouses and stores. Zero contact between shifts, so only 1 shift is not operational, in case of positive infection
  • Separating rooms and entrances for teams in administration to keep the operational side of the business running and avoid putting the whole team/ department in risk of quarantine
  • Enforce home working for every department possible. Software licenses need to be tested
  • Reducing working time to manage the stores with less staff
  • Appointing a Crisis Management Team, assigned with defining clear rules for how to react, if retailer has positive infection of staff member
  • Keeping a record of people HQ staff and management comes in contact with, incl. their information to follow through in case of positive infection

Reducing the risk in stores

  • Store personnel wearing masks and washing hands each hour or in critical situations (i.e. within distance of individuals coughing or sneezing)
  • Making hand sanitiser available for use at entrance and at every checkout for staff and customers
  • Use of every other checkout to ensure more distance between customers and personnel
  • Encouraging distance between customers of 1 m with the use of signage at checkout

Financial measures

  • Utilising credit lines and increasing liquidity to prevent cash flow issues, if banks have difficulties in future

Supply chain measures

  • Assigning suppliers and SKU’s into high, medium and low risk categories and stocking up on high demanded items (i.e. long life & preserved goods, sanitisers, disinfectant, household cleaners, toilet paper, mouth wash, vitamins, frozen foods)
  • Transition to telephone and video conference communication with all external partners, incl. suppliers

Society measures

  • Quarantine measures create tendency for snacking and comfort foods
  • Lack of opportunity of out-of-home consumption (through imposed restaurant and café closure) increases in-home consumption
  • Closure of schools also increases in home consumption and snacks
  • Border and travel bans affect stores relying on this traffic

For additional support in crisis management, please contact Foley Retail Consulting over our contact form.


*reducing the rate of the COVID-19 virus spread