Grocery stores remain busy yet cautious amidst global pandemic
News Co-Editor ASHLEY VAN HAVERE
With the coronavirus outbreak in full swing and grocery stores staying open and very busy during this time, there was a huge need for some sanitary measures to be taken. All of the grocery stores around town including Walmart, Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Fresh Market and many more are making these changes.
Walmart is currently taking measures to ensure the safety of its customers by having a senior day each Tuesday through the end of May, for those ages 60 and older to be able to shop one hour before opening. They also have a loudspeaker at the Walmart on Firetower Road which is getting the message out about the changes they are making, and how to stay safe. These messages can be heard very frequently in the parking lot. Associates at every Greenville Walmart are making it a priority to clean checkouts and shopping carts every day.
Harris Teeter is making big changes to how they keep the store clean. Before and after they close, all associates are required to clean down their cash register and everything around it. Carts are being cleaned after every single use, all cart cleaners are required to wear gloves and all associates are required to wear masks. They are also limiting the sale of meats to two of the same kind for every person, as meat is something that is currently running low.
Food Lion is another store that has made significant changes following the outbreak. Junior Jackson Summerlin has been working at Food Lion since April of last year.
“We started a strict cleaning schedule every night, but now we have shields in front of the registers and makeshift barricades to direct foot traffic,” Summerlin said. “We are being asked to stay home if we show any symptoms and will soon be required to have our temperature taken prior to shifts.”
Summerlin thinks that these precautions are over the top considering the lack of local cases.
Associates in some stores such as Food Lion and Harris Teeter are getting many benefits to compensate. Something that most stores are doing is giving all employees a raise for hazard pay.
“[At Food Lion] we get a one-dollar raise for hazard pay but our job hasn’t really changed [aside from that],” Summerlin said. “[It is] just a little more redundant.”
Stores such as Harris Teeter are giving gifts like a free gift card to the store. There were two days in March where employees at Harris Teeter were given a free lunch as well.
Where in most stores masks are encouraged, at Fresh Market not only are all associates required to wear masks, but also all customers. They are also temporarily limiting the number of purchase quantities on some items in higher demand such as milk, eggs, chicken, paper products and disinfectants. All cashiers are provided with the necessary sanitary supplies, and the number of customers that can be in the store at one time has been limited.
Many stores have not only increased the sanitary precautions that take place but are also offering store pick up. With store pick up you can order your groceries online and get them delivered out to your car in the parking lot.
These stores are working in the best way possible to ensure the safety of their associates and customers. When going into a store, make sure to respect the guidelines and work together with the store and the other customers around.