Video and printable guidelines remind customers to shop smart


Retail Council of Canada (RCC), on behalf of the retail industry in Canada, is sharing a short video and other resources outlining the precautions and guidelines convenience, grocery and drugstore shoppers should follow to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It's a welcome move, as retailers struggle to keep themselves and staff save from customers who "just don't get it."

Convenience Store News Canada and Octane asked c-store and gas operators about how the crisis is affecting their business and here's what we heard in terms of how customers are behaving in-store.

"We still have groups of young kids/teens coming in together for snack items. We still have adults who indicate they are 'bored sitting at home' so they come to the store for chips or ice cream - non-essentials when they should be minimizing their social interactions."

"I have an elderly mother who is on the at-risk list. I myself am on the at-risk list. My teenage daughter is on the at-risk list. I want to be here for my customers who need necessities - cleaning supplies, food, personal care items, medications. But the number of customers who are buying snack food and lottery, and nothing else, without regard for the risk they are putting staff in, as well as every other customer we come into contact with, is staggering."

"People are not staying home, many citizens in our community have viewed the last couple of weeks as a paid holiday and their everyday habits haven't changed.  Nice spring days our stores are often as busy as they were during Christmas.  People need to stay home!"

"We still have tourists coming in to our store.  We are located in a tourist town, but people are still coming up from neighbouring  cities rather than taking self isolation seriously." 

"I've been quite lucky, our customers are understanding of limits. Customers are abiding by the floor markers we've put down indicating acceptable spacing limits for line ups,  It's nice when customers thank us for being open, and nice to see the Prime Minister acknowledge front line workers." 

Indeed, c-store and gas operators are front-line workers and deemed essential businesses. However, everyone, including shoppers, has a role in play in keeping people safe and stopping the spread of COVID-19.

“The way we live our lives has fundamentally changed over the past several weeks.  So, what does that mean for the activities that many of us still need to do each week, like shopping for food or other essential needs?  While your shopping experience at your local grocery or drugstore has changed, it’s important for each of us to recognize the role we need to play to help keep front-line workers in stores safe,” Diane J. Brisebois, president and CEO, Retail Council of Canada, said in a release.  “On behalf of retailers across the country, RCC wants to thank employees who are keeping grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential retail services operating – helping keep Canadians fed and well.”

In addition to the video, there are printable signs that operators can post outside their as a reminder to shoppers. Download the Shop Smart poster here. 

Or, create your own, with these rules, courtesy of RCC:


  • If you’re sick, or have been asked to quarantine at home, don’t go to your local grocery or drugstore. Use contactless delivery and have someone drop them off at your door, knock, then retreat to a safe distance!

  • While we all feel isolated and look for ways to fill our days, to keep our loved ones busy, we need to remember that we must avoid planning our grocery or drugstore trips with others in tow. Just designate one person to shop! Shop alone.


  • Practice Physical Distancing – 2M or 6ft. (That’s the length of an average hockey stick 😊)

  • Be considerate. Only buy what you need! Only touch what you take.

  • Wash your hands before and after you shop and use sanitizer whenever you can.

  • When paying for your goods, use contactless debit or credit / tap wherever possible.

  • If you use re-usable bags – wash them before and after your shopping trip – and if possible, bag items yourself – or don’t use them at all right now.

  • Be kind – we are all in this together.


For French and Chinese versions, visit the RCC website. 

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