Necessity is the mother of invention, the adage says. Certainly, we’ve seen many examples of innovative thought and practical improvements put in practice in supermarkets throughout the U.S. during this pandemic.
For example, to promote social distancing, H-E-B was among the first to offer its customers a deal that to keep them out of lines and away from large crowds. Their stores across Texas provided free, next-day curbside ordering and pharmacy deliveries to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We are working diligently to provide solutions for seniors and Texans in need to access food and supplies with limited public interaction,” the company wrote.
They and many others also shortened store hours to better serve customers and to give team members more time to restock more quickly-depleted shelves, thus increasing product availability.
Stop & Shop was among the first to offer designated shopping hours for seniors, a step taken to help create a safer and more comfortable shopping environment for those most susceptible to the virus. Many have followed…
Albertsons was the first major company to announce they will install plexiglass “sneeze-guard” barriers at checkouts in its 2,200 stores… Walmart and Kroger have made similar commitments… Whole Foods also confirmed it’s in the process of rolling out sneeze guards at all locations to protect customers and Team Members at the registers.
Additional examples of best practices and suggestions were recently shared by the The Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC that conducts research into new ideas for solving societal problems. Among their recommendations are the following, which many supermarkets have put into practice of their own accord:
“Employers need to implement immediate steps to reduce grocery workers’ exposure to COVID-19 by expanding access to personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves and end any restrictions on workers wearing them. While supplies of protective masks and gloves are extremely limited across the country, employers and policymakers should prioritize PPE for grocery workers as they become available.”
“Employers should provide adequate cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer, regular opportunities for workers to wash their hands, and frequent equipment cleaning.”
“Stores should shorten hours and limit the number of customers at any given time.”
“Grocery stores should implement additional measures to protect workers and enforce safe spacing of customers.”