Flattening the Curve: COVID-19 Dispensary Precautions
Posted by Andrew Sharp & Jimmy Long on July 13, 2020
Whether visiting a dispensary, working at one, or managing one during the COVID-19 epidemic, there are several precautions to follow in order to preserve a safe shopping and work environment. Being the first global pandemic in our lifetimes, we all must adapt and overcome new challenges related to public safety and social distancing measures to flatten the curve.
Given the various phases of re-opening business in Massachusetts, it is critical to stay informed with the most up to date COVID-19 guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as well as State and Local Healthcare Professionals to modify dispensary practices as needed. The below checklists outline the necessary steps to ensure the safety of both staff and customers during this challenging time.
Dispensary Staff Precautions
To ensure dispensary staff feel comfortable, protected and supported while working in the dispensary, store management must outline a strict safety protocol. Training on these new procedures is critical to maintain consistent operations and expectations. The checklist below covers the main tenants’ staff must follow each and every day:
- Wear a mask that always covers the mouth and nose when inside the dispensary
- Change gloves between every transaction
- Sanitize all Point-of-Sale stations between every customer interaction
- Sanitize all “high touch” areas such as entryways, door handles, buttons, and display case tops constantly throughout the day
- Do not congregate in breakrooms, hallways, office, or any confined area
- Always stay at least 6 feet apart
- Encourage the use of the telephone, online conferencing, e-mail or instant messaging to conduct business as much as possible, even when participants are in the same building.
- Schedule professional deep cleaning on a weekly basis
- Frequently wash hands with warm, soapy water, for at least 20 seconds
Updating the Customer Experience:
The responsibility of keeping a safe dispensary environment extends beyond staff and into the customer experience. Changes to patient flow, ordering, and checkout all must be tweaked to ensure social distancing and minimize the possible transmission of COVID-19. Customers may need some time to adjust to new processes put in place, so being patient and understanding is essential to keeping a pleasant experience. Above all, clear communication of these updates (such as new online ordering, curbside pickup or delivery options) allows customers to best prepare before purchasing. The below checklists highlights modifications to the customer experience that staff must prepare:
- Make gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer available to all customers and staff
- Ensure all customers cover their face with a mask or covering before being allowed to enter
- Remove all marketing, signage, decorations, etc. from sales floor to minimize touch points
- Remove all paper menus and post QR codes to the product menu at every register and check in
- Allow customers to verify ID by holding up at check-in rather than physically handling them
- Display safety informational signage throughout the dispensary
- Do not allow patients to line up outside or in hallways
- Allow only one patient in the check-in area at a time
- Clearly mark with tape social distancing buffer zones 6ft apart in que areas
- Display printed menus inside glass case at Point-of-Sale station
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