COVID-19 Retail Business Information Center

COVID-19 Retail Business Information Center

The Connecticut Retail Merchants Association is dedicated to advocating for Connecticut’s retail industry, as the voice of retail businesses at the State Capitol and with state agencies.

During the COVID-19 crisis, CRMA has been in constant communication with policy makers, serving on the Business Advisory Council of the Governor’s Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group, and representing retail businesses as plans progress towards reopening and beyond.

Here are some of the key guidelines developed by state and federal agencies that retailers will want to consult. If you have questions or concerns, contact CRMA President Tim Phelan directly at or 860-527-1044.


Self Certification

Connecticut businesses eligible to open on or soon after May 20 are required to self-certify to demonstrate they understand and will comply with COVID-19 rules and regulations set by the state. The self-certification process is quick and available online at


ReOpen Guidelines

Businesses under Phase 1 of Connecticut reopening plans, as of May 20, include retail and malls.  The state has developed specific sector guidelines, which can be reviewed here in their entirety. The state’s goal is to “proactively protect public health and speed up the pace of economic, educational, and community recovery.”

The guidelines indicate that a capacity limit of 50% for businesses that reopen is in effect, strict cleaning and disinfection protocols should be used in all business settings, and those who can work from home should continue to do so.

Among the key points for retailers, included in the reopening guidelines:

All employees are required to wear a facemask or other cloth face covering that completely cover the nose and mouth, unless doing so could be contrary to his or her health or safety due to medical conditions. Customers are also required to bring and wear masks or cloth face coverings.

Employers must post clear signage that reinforces new policies, including:

  • Social distancing protocols
  • Cleaning and disinfection protocols
  • Personal protection protocols (face masks, gloves) for customers and employees
  • Employees shall stay home if sick/experiencing symptoms
  • Customers shall not enter if they are experiencing symptoms

Employers must institute a training program and ensure employee participation in the program prior to reopen. Training shall include:

  • Rules contained in the Reopen Connecticut document.
  • Protocols on how to clean and use cleaning products (incl. disinfectants) safely.
  • The training shall be provided at no cost to the employee and during working hours.

There shall also be weekly refreshers on policies. 

Complete a thorough cleaning of facility prior to reopening, including:

  • Staff break rooms
  • Commonly touched areas in front of stores, such as baskets and carts

Stagger shift start/stop times, break times, and lunchtimes to minimize contact across employees. Maintain a log of employees on premise over time, to support contact tracing. 

Install touchless appliances wherever possible, including paper towel dispensers, soap dispensers, trash cans. 

Please note the guidelines pertaining to use of fitting rooms have been revised.  Under the revised guidance, any clothes tried on by a customer must either be quarantined for 48 hours or thoroughly steam cleaned prior to returning to the floor.

Reopening Connecticut:  Webinar for Retailers

The Connecticut Retail Merchants Association, the state Department of Economic and Community Development, and CBIA discussed the first phase reopening of the state’s economy and addressed employer questions in this 60-minute webinar on May 15.  Panelists include:

  • Tim Phelan, president of the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association
  • David Lehman, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development
  • Joe Brennan, president and CEO of CBIA

Thermometers Available
In partnership with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association and CONNSTEP, the state is distributing 50,000 infrared thermometers to eligible small businesses.  Request thermometers here.  

Additional Updates
For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including an FAQ and other guidance and resources, residents are encouraged to visit . The latest announcements from Gov. Lamont can be seen here

Retail Resources
 CRMA has finalized a collaboration with a Connecticut business, Sign Pro, located in the Plantsville section of Southington, for a complete package of the signs that retailers need to comply with state reopening guidelines.  To see the Retail Opening Compliance Kit, go to and scroll down the home page to Featured Products – Retail Opening Compliance Kit.  Click on that, and you’ll see the full range of products being offered – at a significant discount for CRMA members.  This kit is designed to comply with Merchant and Mall Reopening Guidelines. It includes signage on PPE, Shields, Sidewalk/Lawn/Wall Signs, Floor Wayfinding and Window graphics.

We’re Here To Help
CRMA members will continue to receive regular email updates from CRMA, including in weekly editions of Friday Facts.  For questions about your retail business’ circumstances, contact CRMA President Tim Phelan at 860-527-1044 or