Retail employee answering COVID-19 screening questions before work

What COVID-19 Screening Questions to Include In a Self-Assessment

Keep Stores Safe By Using These COVID-19 Screening Questions to Survey Associates for Possible Coronavirus Symptoms Before They Go to Work

  • By Matthew Ritchie

With countries slowly coming to terms with the coronavirus and states and cities starting to reopen, the safety of store employees and the people they serve has never been so important. 

And while face shields, plexiglass screens, regular sanitization, and social distancing are important in-store, the battle really begins before employees even show up for work.

Regularly screening employees is essential to the long-term health and safety of stores. But many retailers don’t know where to start and aren’t sure which questions they’re allowed to ask.

Knowing the symptoms can help slow the spread of COVID-19. That’s why many retailers are asking employees to fill out short questionnaires before each shift to assess their health and keep store teams safe. 

Guidelines generally differ based on a retailer’s region. But there is a rough consensus regarding the questions retailers should (and are permitted) to ask team members when it comes to assessing the risk they pose to other employees and the greater public.

If you’re looking for coronavirus screening questions to ask employees before each shift, you’ve come to the right place. Peruse our list of examples (and explanations for each) below, and adapt them to match local guidelines or how you see fit.


COVID-19 Screening Questions Retailers Should Ask in an Employee Self-Assessment


1. Do you have any of the following new or worsening symptoms or signs (choose any or all that apply)?

If an employee answers yes or puts a checkmark next to any of these possible COVID-19 sign or symptoms, they should stay home and rest (or seek medical attention if symptoms are particularly bad or persist).

Possible symptoms include:

  • New or worsening cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose, sneezing or nasal congestion
  • Hoarse voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • New loss of smell or taste
  • Unexplained fatigue/malaise
  • Chills and/or body aches
  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain


2. Have you traveled outside of the country in the past 14 days?

Although less likely, considering that many countries have imposed strict travel bans, some countries are still allowing international arrivals.

In the likelihood that someone answers “yes” to this question, employees must stay home, and self isolate in accordance with government guidelines.


3. In the past 14 days, have you been in contact with someone who tested positive (or is currently being tested) for COVID-19?

The coronavirus transmits through direct contact with an infected person’s respiratory droplets. If a store employee has been in direct contact with (or come near) someone who has a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, they must stay home, even if they aren’t experiencing any symptoms.


4. In the past 14 days, have you been in contact with someone who exhibited any symptoms related to COVID-19?

If a store team member answers “no” to question number three, then it’s worth asking this followup—even if someone isn’t being tested doesn’t mean they don’t have it.


Final Thoughts to Keep In Mind When Creating Your COVID-19 Screening Questions

According to U.S. law firm Sidley Austin LLP (and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), although retailers in the U.S. are allowed to ask the questions listed above, medical information must be kept confidential under ADA law. 

The rules and regulations regarding pre-screening retail employees for COVID-19 are likely to differ from country to country, region to region. Retailers should keep track of what’s allowed in each area by following government guidelines.

Ultimately, these questions are just a jumping-off point. 

Follow public health and workplace safety recommendations as the COVID-19 crisis continues to ensure stores are staying safe and up-to-date on what’s expected of them. 

If you need some help, click to learn more about MyCheck-In and the rest of Foko Retail’s COVID Kit.


About the Author

Matthew Ritchie is a content marketing specialist and former arts and culture journalist. He lives in Ottawa, ON. When not researching and writing about the retail industry, he can be found hiking the trails of nearby Gatineau Park or alphabetizing his record collection.