While shortages of meat and hand sanitizer linger, there are encouraging signs of a return to normalcy in grocery stores across the country as retailers phase out some measures implemented over recent weeks and states and municipalities inch toward larger reopenings after weeks of inactivity to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
Like H-E-B late last month and Trader Joe’s early this week, Meijer of Grand Rapids, Mich., said it was extending its operating hours to allow more time for customers to shop. Grocery stores across the country adopted more restrictive hours in the early days of the national pandemic in part to allow workers to rest and provide time for cleaning and restocking after heavy March traffic.
“These extended hours will best serve all our customers and provide more flexibility to shop Meijer stores,” said Rick Keyes, Meijer president and CEO, in a statement. “As communities begin to reopen, it’s more important than ever that we find new ways to adjust and reshape how our customers shop for products they need while keeping their families safe.”
But while Meijer is also extending the times its stores dedicate to shopping hours for senior citizens, customers with chronic health conditions and essential service workers, Publix is taking a different approach. On May 16, the Lakeland, Fla.-based grocer is extending its hours and returning to regular operating hours in its pharmacies, at which time it will eliminate its reserved shopping hours.
“With our newly expanded hours, we will suspend reserved shopping hours. We do understand some customers prefer to shop when the stores are less crowded,” said Publix in a statement. “We encourage you to shop during the first hour of the day, when we can better accommodate that need.”
And after receiving shopper feedback that its one-way aisles designed to promote social distancing were actually making it more difficult to navigate its stores in a timely fashion, The Giant Co., Carlisle, Pa., reportedly has removed the directional signs and arrows indicating one-way foot traffic in its Giant and Martin's stores.