TORONTO -- The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for both large and small Canadians businesses to endure.

“This has been a tough ride for many stores that haven't had sales for almost 10 weeks, so it's been really tough," Diane Brisebois, the President of the Retail Council of Canada, said.

The council’s “Road to Retail Recovery” playbook is 177 pages long and includes some of the best practices used by companies around the world that have had success halting the spread of COVID-19.

They found customers would be willing to visit retail stores if social distancing is enforced, hand sanitizer is available, there is regular anti-viral cleaning and protective gear for staff.

“Everyone is concerned about a second wave and this (the way we shop now) will become the new normal,” Brisebois said.

The Ontario government also has its own rules for businesses to follow. Premier Doug Ford said on Wednesday there are more than 90 sector-specific guidelines available on their website to help businesses open “safely and responsibly.”

The Retail Council of Canada said that some leading global retailers are using temperatures checks on customers, changing the layout of their stores and accepting only cashless payments.

Now that Health Canada is officially recommending Canadians wear masks if social distancing isn't possible, the Retail Council of Canada believes more stores will want customers to wear them.

“It seems like most retailers who are re-opening are encouraging face masks," Brisebois said.

The Retail Council says one bright spot for retailers is online shopping.

Online total sales in Canada usually totals about 10 per cent, but during the pandemic that number has doubled to 20 per cent and may remain higher in the future.

The full report can be downloaded for free on the council’s website.