Several supermarkets in the area, including Walmart, Albertsons, Safeway and Fred Meyer, will be putting in plexiglass sneeze guards at their checkout aisles in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The new sneeze guards, which are an effort to complying with social distancing guidelines, are expected to be installed over the next few weeks, the companies have announced. They are among a number of changes the stores plan to make in an effort to minimize employee-to-customer and customer-to-customer contact.
Walmart, which is the nation’s largest grocer with about 4,700 stores, said it plans to add the sneeze guards within the next three weeks. Walmart will also be putting down floor decals at the checkout lines to remind customers about the 6-foot social distancing guidelines.
Walmart also said it plans to introduce a new backpack-style sprayer that employees will use to clean the carts faster and better.
Walmart will also implement a program to give employees free access to telehealth doctor appointments. Walmart has also announced it is giving most of its employees access to use a new financial services app that lets them access some of their earned wages early.
Last week, Walmart announced that it was reducing its store hours to allow employees to stock the shelves during the coronavirus outbreak, as well as opening its stores an hour early on Tuesdays for seniors only.
Albertsons, which also owns Safeway, announced that over the next two weeks it will be installing the sneeze guards at all of its 2,200 stores. Albertsons will also be adding posters and floor decals at areas where customers frequently wait in lines, including at the pharmacy, check-out aisles and the deli.
Albertsons is temporarily closing its self-serve bars, which offer wings, soups and other items. The chain has added special shopping hours for seniors and is cleaning its stores and shopping carts more frequently, the store said.
Kroger, which is the parent company of Fred Meyer, announced similar changes, including installing sneeze guards and floor decals reminding customers of social distancing at its 2,700 U.S. stores in the next few weeks.
Kroger is also letting employees wear protective masks and gloves if they choose to.