50-plus Critical Actions Grocers Are Making to Protect Workers and Shoppers

50-plus Critical Actions Grocers Are Making to Protect Workers and Shoppers

Grocery and supermarket chains word-wide are taking proactive steps to ensure the well-being of their customers and employees during the unprecedented ever-changing landscape in the help ensure a safe, secure, and comfortable shopping space. The following are the critical actions that are being implemented by international, national, and regional grocery chains. 1

Increased Care at Checkout. Stores are taking steps to protect the associate and shoppers are the checkout stations. Stores are

  • Installing Plexiglas at checkout and service desks to protect customers and employees. The Plexiglas acts as a sneeze-guards protective barrier between customers and checkers. This is an extra step to protect store associates who are in constant contact with the public.
  • Requesting only one person at a time at each checkout station, both to maintain the necessary space and to allow the associate to properly clean and sanitize the station between customers.
  • Asking customers to download store shopping apps, and pay with a scan of their phone screen, no touching, keypads, or signature required.
  • Adding signs at the front of stores and floor decals at the checkout to maintain safe distances between guests as they shop.
  • Cleaning checkout will be cleaned after each shopper transaction.
  • Dedicating team members to ensure guests wait in line at an appropriate distance until they're called to the register.
  • Rotating the use of our checkout to allow those not in use to be deep-cleaned.
  • Putting down floor markings in stores to show both customers and associates what is a safe distance to stand.
  • Using dedicated secondary barcode scanners (e.g.,Honeywell Xenon XP 1952-g-bf, Xenon XP 1952h-bf, and Vuquest 3320g ) to read barcodes on loyalty cards/phone, digital coupons, ID cards for age restricted items, and bottom of the basket items. The checker can use the barcode scanner to read the presented information, without touching the personal item. This allows the shopper and cashier to minimize contact. See the article Grocers Using Secondary Scanners in Checkout to Minimize Shopper/Cashier Contact.

Enhanced Cleaning Procedures. Stores are talking extra precautions to protect shoppers by

  • Cleaning commonly used areas more often, including cashier stations, self-checkouts, credit card terminals, conveyor belts and food service counters.
  • Cleaning shelves when restocking products.
  • Sanitizing restrooms more frequently and keeping cleaning supplies restocked such as soap, paper towels and hand sanitizer.
  • Providing hand sanitizer at cashier stations, food service counters, and all Pharmacy and other key locations throughout the store.
  • Wiping down shopping carts, baskets and equipment.
  • Cleaning devices used by associates such as the mobile computers, scanners, mobile printers. See the Honeywell Cleaning and Disinfecting Guides for mobile computers, scanners, mobile printers, desktop printers, and industrial printers.
  • Providing customers with free disinfectant wipes at our store entrances to sanitize their shopping carts or baskets.

eCommerce Shopping Safeguards for Customers and Workers. Groceries are setting records with customers shopping online and are helping customers become aware of services such as grocery delivery, pharmacy delivery and drive up and go services. Safeguards have put in place to help protect the customer and associates which include

  • Creating Contact-Free Delivery/Pickup. Stores are creating “contact-free” procedures for delivery/pickup. For example,
    • Delivery drivers can sign for the customer during delivery/pick-up after completing an ID check.
    • Drivers can bring orders into the home, if needed, but request that customer keep a distance of six feet when doing so.
    • Customers are being asked to stay in their car while an associate loads the order into their vehicle.
    • Customers can authorize the driver to simply leave the order at their doorstep rather than having to sign for it.
    • Dedicating more spaces in parking lots for drive up to serve more guests.
  • Increased customer communication. Stores and keeping in close touch with customers via email, text message, website and mobile apps to alert them if there are any potential delays or increased wait times at your store.
  • Developing Sanitation Protocols. Stores are helping to educate store associates on
    • Following enhanced sanitation protocols for all their equipment.
    • Washing their hands and using sanitizer before and after every order.

Setting Aside Dedicated Shopping Hours. Stores are setting aside dedicated shopping hours for senior citizens and other at-risk populations, such as pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems, who have been advised to avoid leaving home as much as possible.

Establishing Dedicated “Clean Teams.” Many stores have created “clean teams” who

  • Focus on cleaning and sanitizing the store at night.
  • Clean racks and coolers as soon as products come off the shelves.
  • Sanitizing all the shopping carts as they’re gathered from the parking lots.
  • Cleaning commonly used areas more often, including cashier stations, self-checkouts, credit card terminals, and food service counters.
  • Having a team stationed at store entrances to make sure carts are clean and available in an orderly fashion.

Temporarily Suspending Some Instore Operations. Stores have taken additional actions to

  • Pausing self-service operations like soup bars, wing bars, and salad bars.
  • Close seated restaurant venues and taprooms for in-store dining and offer takeout only.
  • Suspend services such as food demos.
  • Stores are cancelled classes (e.g., cooking classes) are postponing many special events.

Modifying Return Policies. Stores are temporarily suspending product return. Stores will replace or issue refunds if fresh produce, meat, seafood or deli product does not meet quality standards

Practicing Social Distancing. Stores are asking associates to maintain a distance of six feet from other employees in all prep and cooking areas and with customers. In-store seating is being reduced or eliminated.

Adjusting Store Hours to Regroup. Stores are adjusting store hours to give teams the time they need to restock shelves, clean and sanitize and get ready to serve their community.

Coordinating Supply Chain. Stores are focused on coordinating stores, distribution centers and suppliers so that the things guests need most —cleaning supplies, food, over-the-counter medicine and baby products—are fast-tracked through the supply chain and prioritized for re-stocking.

Continuous Customer Education. The stores are continually encouraging customers to follow state and local health authorities to wash or sanitize their hands before entering and leaving the store as a courtesy to your neighbors and store associates. Encouraging our shoppers to follow the CDC’s suggested hygiene practices to reduce the spread of the virus.

Changing Shopper Practices. Stores are making temporary changes in practices such as

  • With all the unknowns about the transmission and spread of COVID-19, stores are suspending the use of reusable bags. Shoppers are being asked to use instore paper and plastic bags and stores will waive any local fees during this time.
  • Placing limits on products like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, disinfectant wipes, dry goods like soup and pasta, food like milk and eggs, bottled water and more.
  • Asking all guests to consider their immediate needs and purchase accordingly so more families can find the products they need.

Taking Care of Associates. Stores are taking measures to protect and care for associates by

  • Encouraging associates to closely monitor their health and well-being.
  • Providing hand sanitizer and tissues in breakrooms and meeting rooms.
  • Asking associates to stay home if they, or someone in their household, are sick.
  • Suspending business air travel for associates and recommending virtual meetings.
  • Temporarily waiving absenteeism policies and covering quarantine and confirmed illness pay.
  • Empower team members who have jobs based in our regional offices and global headquarters to work from home
  • Have additional shopping hours designated especially for team members to allow them to purchase the items they need.
  • Stores recognize the hard-working team members on the front lines, such as e-commerce pickers and drivers, store associates, distribution center associates and manufacturing plant associates and providing increased temporary pay above and beyond their regular hourly pay and overtime.

Contact a Honeywell Solutions Expert today! Call 1-800-934-3163.

Sources for this article were gathered from International, National and Regional Grocers that include Safeway, Albertsons, Costco, Target, Harris Teeter, Lidl, Publix, Kroger, HyVee, Whole Foods

Barry J. Ewell

Barry J. Ewell is a Senior Content Marketing Communications Specialist for Honeywell Industrial Automation. He has been researching and writing on supply chain topics since 1991.