The Smart Way Grocery Chains Are Protecting People During The Pandemic

The last time you visited the supermarket might have been for toilet paper, or for supplies that you hoped would last you through the lockdown and shelter-in-place measures now in place across many, many states. But if you need to go to the supermarket for any reason, it may make you feel better to know that national supermarket chains like Kroger (which owns Ralph's, Dillon's, Smith's, and Harris Teeter), Albertsons, and Walmart, as well as smaller city and regional operators are taking steps to make sure social distancing is enforced, and both frontline staff and shoppers are protected (via Daily News Journal).

In a press release, Walmart says it has begun installing temporary plexiglass barriers or sneeze guards at both Walmart and Sam's Club outlets; they have also found a way to sanitize shopping carts thoroughly and easily. Walmart also says it will be laying down stickers so customers are able to work out what the proper social distance needs to be. Kroger and Albertsons say they are implementing similar measures. "We anticipate every check lane having a partition, including pharmacy counters and Starbucks registers, within the next several weeks," said Kristal Howard, a Kroger spokeswoman says.

Similar social distancing measures are being applied in UK supermarkets

The measures adopted by America's supermarket chains are also being seen across the pond in Britain, where big chains like Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Morrisons, Tesco, Aldi, and Lidl have all announced measures to protect their staff and customers and enforce social distancing. The Telegraph says these measures include allowing fewer people in the store to shop, hiring "two-meter marshalls" who remind customers to keep their distance, and opening fewer checkout counters. 

Like their U.S. counterparts, British supermarkets are also planning to install plastic screens to protect both frontline staff and customers. Meanwhile, Costco UK has laid cones to enforce social distance and, as with other British supermarkets, will limit the number of shoppers allowed into the store.