The Journal Gazette
Thursday, March 26, 2020 1:00 am

Stores add safety measures

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Walmart is adding Plexiglas partitions at cash registers to help shield employees from the spread of coronavirus and Kroger plans the same.

The grocery retailers are also adding signs in stores to remind shoppers about social distancing – remaining 6 feet apart – during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Installation of the Plexiglas barriers, or sneeze guards, at pharmacy lanes has begun at Walmart and Sam's Club stores. The company will install the guards at regular Walmart registers over the next two to three weeks, according to a Tuesday night blog post by the executive vice president and chief operating officer for Walmart U.S.

“Staying safe and healthy is more important than ever for our associates, our customers and for us. Installing these barriers is another way Walmart is helping bring peace of mind that we are doing everything we can to keep our people and our stores safe,” Dacona Smith said in the post.

Kroger said the installations will begin this week. Partitions will be installed at every check lane, pharmacy counter and Starbucks register.

“We are also installing educational floor decals to promote physical distancing at check lanes and other counters,” a news release said.

In addition, Kroger said it is asking government leaders for help in acquiring protective masks and gloves for employees since they are “on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis, ensuring Americans have access to food, services and other products during this unprecedented pandemic.”

Kroger has reached out through “a variety of forms around the country,” spokesman Eric Halvorson said.

Kroger, which this month announced plans to hire dozens more employees, said it continues to “enhance daily sanitation practices,” including increased cleaning of commonly used areas such as cashier stations, self-checkouts, credit card terminals, food service counters and shelves.

“These and other recently announced steps will help Kroger ensure the safety of associates and help our communities flatten the curve while at the same time meeting our obligation to be there for our customers,” the news release said.

Kroger acknowledged that personal protective equipment is in short supply across the country and said it fully supports America's health care workers having first priority. The company said it is asking government officials at all levels for help securing a priority place for all grocery workers – after health care workers – to have access to masks and gloves.

Meijer said it has placed tables in front of pharmacy windows and customer service windows to enforce social distancing and has added floor markings to reinforce the same for people shopping or checking out.

“We also have produced a recurring audio message that plays over our speaker system with these messages,” Meijer said in a statement. “A lot of effort is being put toward educating our customers so they can help us help keep our team members healthy.”

Meijer is also asking customers to refrain from shopping with reusable bags, unless using the Meijer Shop & Scan service.

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