How can stores get social distancing right?
Walmart, Target, Home Depot and Lowe’s this past weekend joined many other retailers in limiting the number of customers allowed in stores at one time to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The retailers are taking some extra measures as well.
At Menards, the Midwest home improvement chain, children under the age of 16 are banned. In the U.K., Sainsbury’s isn’t letting couples shop together. At Costco, only two family members are now being allowed to enter their stores per membership card.
Hy-Vee is encouraging customers to follow a “one person per cart” guideline. Schnucks and H-E-B are suggesting one shopper per household when possible.
“If you come to the store, don’t come with your entire family,” Scott McClelland, H-E-B’s president told KPRC-TV, an NBC-affiliated television station in Houston. “I was in the store yesterday, and because people are bored they’re like, ‘Hey, let’s all go to the grocery store.’ So, a family of six showed up. Send one person; that way you lessen the ability for the virus to spread.”
In Vermont, retailers such as Target, Walmart and Costco are now required to limit the sales of nonessential items.
Miami Beach and Hoboken, NJ over the weekend passed laws requiring residents visiting businesses to wear face coverings. In New Zealand, some grocers are refusing entry for shoppers not wearing gloves and masks.
In a number of stores, Walmart will “institute one-way movement through our aisles,” according to a blog from Dacona Smith, EVP and COO of Walmart U.S. Walmart’s stores will limit access to one entrance and one exit.
The moves come in addition to signage and regular announcements encouraging social distancing in stores.
With two Walmart employees in Illinois passing away within days last week after contracting the virus, the social distancing measures are being developed with employees in mind as well.
Walmart has installed Plexiglas at checkouts, is attaining masks and gloves for staff, and is conducting temperature checks pre-shift to safeguard employees. But Mr. Smith said that while many customers have followed social distancing suggestions, “We have been concerned to still see some behaviors in our stores that put undue risk on our people.”
- Changes to Our Shopping Process to Encourage Social Distancing – Walmart
- Target Announces New Measures to Promote Safety and Social Distancing – Target
- Lowe’s Temporarily Increases Hourly Wages and Implements New Safety Efforts in Response to COVID-19 – Lowe’s
- The Home Depot Announces Business Updates In Response To Covid-19 – Home Depot
- Sainsbury’s bans couples from shopping together in store in latest measure by supermarkets to cut queues and improve social distancing during coronavirus lockdown – Daily Mail
- Costco to limit how many people per membership can enter clubs due to COVID-19 starting Friday – USA Today
- H-E-B president: Don’t bring your entire family to the grocery store during the coronavirus outbreak – KSAT
- Covid 19 coronavirus: Customers refused entry at supermarkets for not wearing gloves, masks – New Zealand Herald
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What other steps can essential stores such as food retailers take to emphasize social distancing in aisles? Do you see any of the current measures going too far — or are most stores not going far enough?