Score Methodology

Effective date: January 7th, 2021

We rate public spaces based on their adherence to safety guidelines for reducing the spread of illness. Our app is intended to help you identify places that are practicing good safety practices, but is not intended to categorize the risk of catching any disease while visiting these places.  We have selected several safety measures businesses can implement and based on literature review and key informant interviews with health professionals have weighted them based on their potential to lower risk of transmission.



Limit on # customers in store

Reduces the density of customers in the store, allowing them to circulate while observing social distancing. The less customers are in an enclosed space at a given time, the lower the chances of droplet transmission from person to person.  This measure has an additive impact when paired with mandatory masks, which reduce the spread of droplets.

Relevant research:



Hand sanitizer readily available

Reduces the risk that staff and customers entering and moving about the store will spread infectious material by contact. On exiting, they have the ability to clean their hands of any infectious agent they acquired by touch.

Relevant research:



Face coverings required for customers

Reduces likelihood of droplet transmission to and from customers entering the store. Customer masks are considered to have an additional safety contribution over employee masks for two major reasons: (1) Given (a) a generic prevalence of infections in the population, and (b) given the higher number of customers than staff passing through a business in a given day, it is relatively more impactful to reduce transmission risk to and from customers. (2)  Businesses also have the ability to identify and place staff on leave who are symptomatic, whereas symptomatic members of the public may still decide to enter the store.

Relevant research:



All employees wear face coverings

Reduces the likelihood of droplet transmission by/to employees.

Relevant research:

Markers to help customers stay 6 ft apart

Markers help reduce the risk of transmission during general shopping, and are most valuable at “chokepoints” such as cashier checkouts.  This can also help to enforce the 6ft rule by gentle reminders.  Broadening to include other enforcement measures for distancing such as signage and people with distance markers could increase effectiveness.

Relevant research:

No-touch payment options

Reduces the potential for contact-based contamination when customers contact a shared resource.

Relevant research:

All employees wear gloves

Has protective value in that it can help staff notice when they are touching their face. However, if gloves are not changed regularly, much of the contribution is moot. They may also carry germs as much or more than hands and cannot be effectively washed or sanitized therefor could actually increase danger to customers. In addition, from a public health perspective this might take needed surgical glove supply from health workers who would use them properly.

Relevant research:

Daily health check for all employees

Health checks include measures like checking temperature of employees when they arrive at work. We rely on stores to report this information.Screening employees decreases the chance that someone spreads disease within the business.

Relevant research:

Ability to pre-pay online

Reduces the potential for contact-based contamination when customers contact a shared resource.

Relevant research:

No-touch entry

Reduces the potential for contact-based contamination when customers contact a shared resource.

Relevant research:

Curbside pickup

Look for the ability to pick up your order without getting close to another person. Some places leave a bag outside, others have you pull up in a car and pop the trunk. miting direct interaction with other people lowers your risk of transmission.

Relevant research: