The N.H. Grocers Association has released a list of best practices for grocery stores to help protect employees and customers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Keeping space between shoppers (and employees) is the priority, with the list calling for a 50 percent occupancy cap in a store —excluding employees — and encouraging staff to count the customers as they come and go to ensure that the 50 percent cap is not exceeded.

The trade association also recommends that spaces are marked six feet apart from each other for shoppers waiting in check-out lines and other high-traffic areas and that aisles be designated as “one-way,” when possible, to further encourage people to keep their distance while shopping.

Employees are urged to use every other register to maintain social distancing, and the association is calling for plexiglass shields to be installed to separate customers from cashiers. Staff members are also encouraged to wear gloves and face masks when interacting with customers or handling products.

The association is urging customer cooperation in keeping patrons and employees safe. Grocers ask that customers stay home if they don’t feel well. They also suggest customers prepare a grocery list beforehand to minimize time spent in the store. The association is also asking that shopping trips be made by only one person per household.

Customers are also encouraged to buy only one week’s worth of groceries to avoid depleting the stock for other shoppers. Those who wear gloves or face masks are asked to dispose of them in a trash receptacle or bring them home. The association warns that littering parking lots with those materials “creates a dangerous and unhealthy situation.”

Grocers are also advised to discontinue any “self-serve” food options, including salad bars or food sampling, and to sanitize credit card machines, and cart and basket handles between uses.

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