Kroger, H-E-B, Tops Hire the Clean Team

Grocers appoint sanitation and safety staff
Photograph by WGB staff

Grocery’s new dream team is all about safety. Retailers such as The Kroger Co., H-E-B and Tops Markets are appointing staff to newly created sanitation positions designed to ensure the safety of shoppers and employees alike.

At a King Soopers store in Denver, all shopper traffic is directed to a single entrance, where two-person teams receive shopping carts and disinfect them. Once the carts are cleaned, the staff members move the carts behind a sign with arrows indicating that they are clean. The sign also offers messaging about stopping the spread of COVID-19, as does additional signage throughout the store.

The Cincinnati-based Kroger banner is taking additional safety steps in-store, including decals on the floor at checkout that ask shoppers to “Please Wait Here” to encourage social distancing. A beefed-up security staff is also new. Uniformed guards now patrol the store to ensure that shoppers comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing recommendations.

As part of San Antonio-based H-E-B’s coronavirus action plan, the grocer has appointed dedicated teams of its associates and COVID action managers in each store. These employees are trained to ensure sanitation and social distancing programs are properly followed.

Each store will have one dedicated entrance to help monitor customer flow. The COVID action partners are in charge of sanitizing shopping cart handles, as well as monitoring and metering access to the store with proper social distancing in mind.

H-E-B is also positioning in-store social distancing partners, whose job it is to see that proper social distancing is practiced by customers and partners during the shopping and checkout experience. Decals on the ground at each checkout stand further promote social distancing. Plexiglas partitions that are currently being installed behind the checker and around the check stand add another layer of protection for customers, partners and baggers.

Tops Markets of Williamsville, N.Y., has assigned an associate at each of its 162 stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont to spearhead sanitization of the front-end registers, check stands, conveyor belts, customer service desks, point-of-sale devices and other frequently touched surfaces most accessed by customers on a continual basis during operating hours.

Additional safety measures at all stores include installing Plexiglas shields on as many front-end registers as possible. Where Plexiglas cannot be affixed because of equipment limitations, associates will be provided with protective face shields, which will also be used by Tops associates working in the pharmacy department and customer service desk. 

These safety measures are in addition to Tops' existing PPE (personal protection equipment) procedures, which include providing gloves for associates; hand sanitizer and wipes for both associates and customers; and “Comfort Zone” areas at the registers that promote social distancing.


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