The important changes Aldi is making during the pandemic

As the effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to be felt throughout the U.S., grocery shopping is suddenly front and center as perhaps the most crucial event in everybody's day-to-day existence. Our favorite grocery chains become not just a convenience but a lifeline — and Aldi, beloved by just about everyone from the budget-minded to the bougie, is taking its responsibility very seriously, indeed. 

Throughout the unfolding crisis, Aldi has been leading the charge in making sure that their own employees stay safe from infection as they man the front lines in our war against COVID-19. They've also set the standard for other grocers with heroic measures such as boosting employee pay for the duration of the crisis, offering paid sick leave, and even encouraging workers to stay home when ill without fear of reprisal.

Now once more Aldi is taking the lead in implementing new policies for shoppers that may seem strict, but are intended to keep everyone as safe as can be at a potentially dangerous time when a trip to the grocery store may be the bravest thing you do all day.

How Aldi is keeping shoppers safe

Aldi will, from now on, be allowing no more than five shoppers into the store per each 1,000 square feet of space. According to Aldi corporate, most U.S. stores have about 10,000 square feet of sales floor, which means that 50 shoppers will typically be the max number allowed. Aldi employees will be stationed outside to keep track of customers exiting and entering, to remind any shoppers who may be lined up outside to keep six feet of distance apart, and to allow any medical professionals with ID to go to the head of the line. They'll also be doing their best to keep shopping carts sanitized.

Fox8 reported that Aldi would be limiting shopping to only one family member, which, if true, would have been seriously bad news for parents with young kids or anyone requiring mobility assistance. Further investigation, however, revealed that an email Aldi sent out to customers (via WRAL) actually did address the situation as follows: "We kindly ask customers to limit their shopping to one person per family. We recognize that may not be possible in certain circumstances and will make exceptions for any customer who needs to shop with children, or assist a vulnerable shopper." So, yeah, Aldi is asking for us to be as considerate as we can, but they're not mandating that you leave your 5-year-old home alone while you pick up a gallon of cheap milk.

Aldi makes changes in-store, too

The biggest change you'll be seeing inside Aldi, besides the aisles being less crowded, is the fact that many of these aisles will now be one-way. That way you won't have to maneuver your cart awkwardly past anyone else's, a move practically guaranteed to get you within germ-swapping range. Signs will be in place throughout the store directing you as to what direction you should be going. There will also be protective barriers (think sneeze shields, like the ones installed at salad bars) in place at every checkout counter, and you may see your checkout person masked and gloved for their protection.

Does this sound kind of bleak and dystopian, maybe make you feel like an extra in a bad science fiction movie? Don't worry, in the midst of this worldwide nightmare Aldi is still Aldi. Their Special Buys are still just as special, and their test kitchens are still rolling out yummy new food items. After all, if you're going to be risking life and limb (well, maybe not limb, unless the lines turn rowdy) to shop at their stores, Aldi wants to make sure it's worth your while. They are there for us in our darkest hour, and that is why, as Winston Churchill would undoubtedly have said, there will always be an Aldi.