What It's Really Like For Aldi Employees During The Pandemic

Anyone going into a grocery store feels grateful store employees are there each day to help keep people fed during this very stressful pandemic. Of course, one has to wonder how workers are handling the COVID-19 crisis. Are they happy to have a job? Concerned about getting infected? Both?

For Aldi employees, their safety (and that of shoppers) is the top priority for the grocery chain, according to the company website. "The health and well-being of our employees and customers remains our primary focus," Aldi shares in an update on coronavirus measures it is implementing. "We closely monitor safety recommendations from state and local health officials as well as the CDC, and have implemented many steps to further enhance safety in our facilities. Most recently, the CDC has recommended wearing face coverings in public settings, including grocery stores, to help slow the spread of the virus and minimize transmission of the virus from individuals that lack symptoms."

To that end, Aldi requires all warehouse and store workers to wear face coverings at all times. "A face covering can be a mask that ALDI provides, however employees are welcome to bring a face covering from home as long as it meets CDC guidelines."

The store further "encourages" shoppers to wear masks, but stops short of making this a requirement like Costco. Aldi management also encourages employees and shoppers to practice good hygiene to stop the spread of the virus. Of course, these measures are great, but what is it really like to work at Aldi during the pandemic?

Aldi employees are working hard for customers and are appreciated by the company during the pandemic

In a message to customers, Aldi said, "Our teams are working diligently to keep our shelves stocked and we are continuing to react to the Covid-19 situation. In the midst of increased demand and challenging supply, we are focused on the products you are likely to want most: water, pantry staples, pre-made meals, cleaning supplies, toilet paper and more." Clearly this means Aldi employees are working hard to meet customer demand, all the while maintaining an intense focus on increased sanitizing efforts in-store. 

As workers, well, work hard, on its site, Aldi, which operates 1,900 stores in 36 states, thanked employees for their service during this unprecedented time. "We are thankful for the hard work and dedication of our team members each and every day," management says. But this is more than just sentiment. The statement further reads, "We are continuing to be in close communication with our team and are encouraging any sick team members to stay home. In addition, we are enhancing our sick leave policy to further support our employees and their families."

Some Aldi employees got sick with the virus

Several Aldi employees at a Spotslyvania County, Virginia store tested positive for coronavirus recently (via News Observer). According to the Rappahannock Area Health District, all exposed staff members were in quarantine as of April 30th. Meanwhile, the store remains open. There's no doubt this situation led to stress for the infected and exposed Aldi employees, and for staff that remains working, despite increased safety measures. Cashiers are spaced at least 6 feet apart with Plexiglass barriers. High-touch areas are being sanitized frequently, and employees continue to wear face masks.

Aldi Corporate Manager Philip Roades made a statement specifically about this store: "We have asked all employees from this store to self-quarantine to focus on their health. The store was closed temporarily on April 28th for a deep cleaning performed by a third-party service, and it has since reopened with employees from other nearby ALDI locations so we can continue to serve the local community." The statement goes on to read, "All employees who are in quarantine are on paid leave and we are doing all that we can to support them at this time."

Ultimately, it is not known if the initial infection happened at the Aldi store. But it's safe to say that just like at other grocery chains like Costco, there is a fair amount of risk associated with working at any store in the current climate, especially considering this isn't the only Aldi store to report employees being infected with the virus. The Times Herald reports a Michigan Aldi closed after three workers tested positive for COVID-19.

The future is unknown for how Aldi employees will continue to be affected by the pandemic

Even with so many safety measures in place to protect employees — Aldi is also taking staff members' temperatures before they work a shift, and sending anyone with a reading of 100 degrees or higher home — clearly the risk of getting infected still exists. Aldi has even taken further steps to limit the number of shoppers allowed in a store at any one time (via PennLive).

Still, this is no doubt an unsettling time for everyone, and perhaps especially grocery store workers, who risk potential exposure each and every day at work while serving countless customers. That, on top of a job that is reportedly already physically demanding. It must be said a job at Aldi also reportedly pays relatively well, and offers opportunities to learn multiple roles within the store. 

Here's hoping all Aldi employees can feel safe, appreciated, and stay healthy as this country rides out the pandemic.