ST. GEORGE — Grocery stores across Washington County are going above and beyond to provide the safest possible measures in order to protect employees and customers, prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help to manage supply availability.
These measures have been implemented in response to the concern some guests have shown about shopping in grocery stores, said Ashlee Johnstun, director of customer relations for Associated Retail Operations, which includes Lin’s Marketplace.
According to a press release, Lin’s Marketplace is encouraging customers to use available technologies, like mobile checkout and tap to pay options. One option mentioned in particular is the Skip app, which allows customers to checkout with their cellphones.
After downloading the app, customers may scan items as they shop and checkout. After payment is received, the app will prompt the user to go to the service desk for verification. In addition to technologies like Skip, customers can also use Google Pay and Apple Pay, eliminating the need of inserting a card into the pin pad.
Plexiglass barriers have been installed at the register and social distancing floor clings have been placed at check stands to help remind customers proper social distancing. Lin’s is also offering special hours for senior citizens Monday through Saturday from 8 to 9 a.m. and on Sunday from 9 to 10 a.m.
Reusable bags are also no longer permitted. While reusable bags offer benefits, with the specific situation the country is facing, the company feels using plastic bags is the safer option, the release states.
“It’s important to know this is a temporary restriction,” Johnstun said. “Our number one goal for our guests and team members is to provide a safe place to shop and reusable bags have the potential to contaminate check stands and other areas.”
Other stores in the county are also taking additional measures in order to secure the safety of employees and customers.
Both Smith’s Marketplace and Harmons Neighborhood Grocer are no longer accepting reusable bags. Both stores have changed their hours to being open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in order to allow employees to restock, clean and rest. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, there is a special hour to shop from 7 to 8 a.m. for senior citizens or those who are defined as high-risk according to the Centers for Disease Control
Depending on daily supply, some limitations for items like sugar, flour, toilet paper, pasta, water and eggs may apply at Smith’s.
Natural Grocers closes daily at 7:05 p.m., and is still accepting the use of reusable bags, but customers are required to bag or box their own items. As of Sunday afternoon, eggs were the only item with a sale restriction, a limit of four dozen per customer. The store is also offering a special hour from 9 to 10 a.m. on Sunday for seniors and people defined as high-risk according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Albertsons is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., with Tuesday and Thursday open from 7 to 9 a.m. for seniors and high-risk customers as defined by the Centers for Disease Control only. Plexiglas barriers have been implemented at registers, and store officials said there is consistent wiping down of checkout stands and carts.
Albertsons’ customers are limited to two items each of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, cases of water, paper products, ground beef, chicken and eggs. While customers are still able to bring in reusable bags, they are required to bag their own groceries. Employees are not allowed to touch reusable bags.
Most local stores, including Walmart, also offer electronic shopping and the public is encouraged to visit stores’ websites in order to utilize this service. This includes online shopping for curbside pickup.
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