Grocery stores are going to new levels to help slow the spread of coronavirus during the pandemic, including using plexiglass at check-out stations, wiping down carts, only allowing so many people in the store at once and now using one-way aisles to keep customers spread out. Grocers like Walmart, The Kroger Co., Hy-Vee and Giant Food are implementing the new style of checking out in another effort to prevent people from contracting the virus and getting COVID-19. Lines outside of each grocer are also being used to keep customers separated by at least six feet.
"We expect this to help more customers avoid coming into close contact with others as they shop," Dacona Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Walmart U.S. stated according to Supermarket News. "We'll continue to put signage inside our stores to remind customers of the need to maintain social distancing, especially in lines. And once customers check out, they will be directed to exit through a different door than they entered, which should help lessen the instances of people closely passing each other."
Along with many other stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes, the retail giant started limiting the amount of customers they allow in at one time. It breaks down to no more than five customers for each 1,000 square feet at a time, which totals out to be only 20% of the stores capacity. "While many of our customers have been following the advice of the medical community regarding social distancing and safety, we have been concerned to still see some behaviors in our stores that put undue risk on our people," Smith said. "We want to encourage customers to bring the fewest number of people per family necessary to shop, allow for space with our customers while shopping, and practice social distancing while waiting in lines. We're also seeing states and municipalities set varying policies regarding crowd control, which has created some confusion regarding shopping."
As for Kroger, they will only allow 50 percent of the international building code's calculated capacity in at once. The new introduction is their way of helping "flatten the curve while operating as an essential business, providing our customers with access to fresh, affordable food and products," Mary Ellen Adcock, Senior Vice President of Operations for Kroger said. She added they they too, along with Walmart and so many other stores, are doing what they can to help prevent the spread.
Both companies are implementing employee temperature checks as another way to keep their fellow co-workers and customers safe. They have put up signs in stores to help remind people to keep their distance and wash their hands, and have provided employees with gloves and masks if they feel the need to ward them.