Required COVID-19 Safety Protocols for ALL IGA Retailers

Mar 1, 2020

See below for the original message from IGA CEO John Ross about required COVID-19 safety protocols from Spring 2020. Please visit IGA ALERT for updated guidelines and safety protocols.


Required COVID-19 Safety Protocols for ALL IGA Retailers


The CEO’s job at IGA is to help our retailers succeed and prosper. Normally that means providing tools, resources, and support; it means capturing best practices and sharing them across the chain; it means assisting and guiding to help IGA retailers compete on a level playing field with the chains. Because Independent is our first name, it normally does not mean “directing.”


We are in different times now, uncharted waters where the news changes daily and where what is real and what is exaggerated is hard to determine. Simply put, Coronavirus has changed our world, perhaps for a longer time than any of us might have imagined.


This week, the White House’s lead infectious disease expert predicted our country could see as many as 200,000 deaths from COVID-19. We have several major chains experiencing walkouts and strikes as their workers beg for more safety protocols in their stores. And we saw several Trader Joe’s grocery stores temporarily close for cleaning when employees tested positive.


Please pause and imagine the same happening in one of our stores. Your local IGA becomes the epicenter of the spread of a deadly disease. IGA stores support our communities; we don’t harm them.


None of us would want our stores to contribute to the illnesses or deaths in the very communities we serve. And remember, what happens in one IGA store affects them all.


In China, IGA stores implemented safety protocols that not only protected their shoppers, but protected their associates’ well being too. As their crisis ebbs, we are proud to say no IGA China employee contracted the virus and not one IGA China store was implicated as a center for disease transmission. We should aspire to the same goals everywhere.


Most of you are already implementing some or all of these behaviors, and we are grateful for that. That said, we are only as strong as our weakest link, and in this unprecedented situation that threatens the health and safety of our employees and shoppers alike, the time for suggestion is over.


To that end and with the support of your National Retailer Advisory Board (NRAB), I am implementing a series of minimum safety standards for ALL IGA stores. For the safety of your family, your associates, your community, and the IGA brand, I must ask that EVERY IGA STORE follow these required protocols, derived from coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NGA, and FMI, as well as insights from IGA China and the NRAB.


Please keep in mind these are the core minimum requirements for the brand, and do not preclude any state or local mandates that you may already be doing, or may need to enact in the future.


Thank you for following this protocol, and doing what is right for your communities, your associates, and the IGA overall brand. These tough times will pass and if we stay focused now, we will come out a stronger, more resilient brand than ever before. 


John Ross

President & CEO



Minimum Required Safety Standards for all IGA Stores During the Coronavirus Pandemic


1. Educate 100% of your staff on appropriate safety protocols and required hygiene practices. Ensure associates are up to speed on proper hand washing, food safety, and transmission prevention with training courses and IGA-provided signage. 



2. Increase cleaning of high traffic areas that shoppers touch frequently. Grocery carts, register belts, and credit card keypads should be disinfected with the proper cleaning chemicals between each shopper, or at a minimum, every two hours. Please refer to the CDC cleaning guidelines below.


3. Communicate safety standards to shoppers. Post IGA-provided signage in the front of your store to show what IGA stores are doing to keep shoppers safe, from practicing social distancing to asking shoppers to “shop solo.” Share the appropriate messaging to shoppers via social media as well.

4. Learn what to do if an associate is feeling ill or tests positive for COVID-19. Our goal is to keep all our associates safe, however, should an IGA associate, vendor, or shopper fall ill, follow these protocols immediately.


5. Provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Recommendations from the CDC and other health organizations maintain that PPE is a vital part of virus protection. Please follow all state and local guidelines for PPE and virus prevention protocols. We strongly recommend supplying all associates with 3-ply surgical masks and installing safety shields at the registers.

Should you have questions about COVID-19 procedures and resources, please visit IGA ALERT for the most up-to-date information. 

*Editor's note: this article was updated on January 28, 2021 to reflect the latest IGA resources and CDC guidance. 

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