KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some businesses considered essential continue to thrive during the coronavirus pandemic, including grocery and home improvement stores.
Now, several of them are now upping their safety measures to keep shoppers and workers safe.
“The last couple weeks have been extremely busy,” said Anna Stoermer, store director of Liberty Hy-Vee.
There’s no slowing down during the public health emergency at grocery stores. Hy-Vee was among the first in the metro to take extra steps with safety kits sent to all its stores. Some of the changes can be spotted as soon as you walk into the store.
On top of regular sanitizing wipe stations, workers are also cleaning off carts.
“We’re trying to just keep those high-touch areas very clean as we go through this COVID-19,” Stoermer said.
Colorful stickers dot the floor to keep customers at the recommended six-feet apart in line. Physical barriers separate cashiers from shoppers at every check stand.
“We’re also wiping down the belt between every transaction, so that helps keep the belt clean for customers and employees,” Stoermer said.
And customers are taking notice.
“I really appreciate what Hy-Vee has done. I’ve been in some other stores, no names mentioned, and they are much more lax and putting people at risk,” shopper Wayne Washburn said. “We need to be more concerned about our fellow citizens, not just ourselves.”
But many other grocers are now stepping up safety measures, too. Price Chopper and Aldi, for example, are also adding plastic shields at checkout lanes.
At Menards and Home Depot, you’ll find taped lines to keep shoppers spread out. Walmart has also announced it’s increasing availability of gloves and masks for workers and is starting to take temperatures before shifts begin.
Nearly every major store still open has trimmed hours as well and have increased routine cleaning.
Dorothy Haage, a retired nurse with a parent in hospice care, said she welcomes and appreciates the changes.
“It’s a huge change. As a registered nurse, I’ve seen several of the viruses come and go, and the flu is always very bad, but this has been difficult. Today, though, was really a good shopping trip,” Haage said.
Many stores have also indicated some of the changes being made could stay, even after the virus threat is gone. They recognize things like extra hand sanitizer stations for workers and more frequent wipe downs of carts are good healthy habits to practice all the time.
You can read more about company safety measures below:
- Plexiglass has been installed at check stands between teammates and customers, where possible.
- Teammates are practicing CDC-guidelines for hand washing and have hand sanitizer at all checkout lines.
- Stores are continually cleaning and sanitizing throughout the store, including at night when the stores are closed.
- Sanitizer wipes are available for grocery carts.
- We are reserving the first hour of each day for seniors and other at- risk members of our community such as pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems.
- Social distancing is being encouraged among all team members and customers.
- We will refrain from packing grocery purchases in reusable bags.
- All sampling or dining in our in-store cafes has been discontinued.