Grocery Stores Are Installing Plexiglass "Sneeze Guards” at Checkouts to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus

Grocery stores are taking extra safety precautions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Grocery stores are taking extra safety precautions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. / Sergei Gnatiuk/iStock via Getty Images
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If you’ve ever been to a build-your-own-meal restaurant like Chipotle, you’re probably familiar with the plexiglass “sneeze guards” that shield the open containers of food from customers on the other side. Now, grocery stores across New England and beyond are using similar ones to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.

WMTW reports that Stop & Shop, Shaw’s, and Star Market will install plexiglass barriers at checkout stations as part of a larger campaign to encourage customers to shop safely and protect the employees who are serving them. The companies have also designated certain hours of operation for seniors and immunocompromised shoppers only, and posted signs that remind people to stay 6 feet away from each other while in the store.

“We’ll be putting tape on the floor to show customers how far back 6 feet is from the pin pad and how far they should be standing away from other customers while they’re waiting in line,” Stop & Shop spokesperson Jennifer Brogan told WMTW.

Albertsons, the company that runs Shaw’s and Star Market—as well as Acme, Safeway, and several other grocery store chains across the country—announced it’ll be installing the plexiglass sheets in more than 2200 stores over the next two weeks.

“We are doing everything we can to provide a safe, secure, and comfortable shopping space for our valued customers,” Vivek Sankaran, president and CEO of Albertsons, said in a press release. “This is an extra step to protect our associates who are in constant contact with the public and provide our customers with extra reassurance as well.”

Albertsons and Stop & Shop have both implemented salary increases for their workers, too; Stop & Shop is providing a 10 percent bump for all current union hourly employees, and Albertsons debuted a new “Appreciation Pay” program that entitles associates in stores, distribution centers, manufacturing plants, and delivery services to a temporary $2-per-hour increase.

[h/t WMTW]