What can grocery stores do to protect customers while social distancing?

Communities across the country are taking steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus by limiting close contact, and supermarkets and grocery stores are quickly increasing safety measures to protect customers running their essential errands.

Sneeze guards

Installing a plexiglass shield at checkout lines protects both the cashier and customer from possible virus-containing droplets that are sneezed or coughed out. Currently, most major retailers like Walmart, Albertsons, and Whole Foods have already started the process of putting up sneeze guards in their stores.   

One-Way AislesRed one way aisle floor sign

Many stores have turned their aisles into one-way lanes to eliminate traffic jams and help shoppers avoid close contact with others. Use “One Way Only” floor signs to direct customers and install floor marking arrows to encourage social distancing without disrupting the flow of customer traffic. 

Floor Marking

If you go to a grocery store today, you will likely see a number of floor marking shapes in the aisle, at counters, and in the check-out line. It can be difficult to visualize what a six-foot distance actually looks like, and floor markings are an effective reminder of healthy practices while they shop. For instance, you can enforce social distancing for people in waiting in line by installing floor marking dots at six-foot intervals.

Limited Capacity

Restricting the number of shoppers allowed in the store at once ensures shoppers have a decent amount of space to practice social distancing. Under Walmart’s new policy for example, it will allow no more than five customers for each 1,000 square feet at a given time, or about 20% of the store’s capacity. Grocery chains have also begun implementing special shopping hours for people higher risk and offering curbside pick-up for customers.

As supermarkets and grocery stores face crowds stocking up on food and supplies, it’s crucial social distancing policies and controls are put in place to protect employees, customers, and ultimately the community.


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