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

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]

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar


Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

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Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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United Airlines Now Has an Interactive Map to Keep Track of COVID-19 Restrictions While You Travel

It's getting easier to keep up to date on coronavirus travel restrictions.
It's getting easier to keep up to date on coronavirus travel restrictions.
andresr/iStock via Getty Images

If you’re thinking of traveling for business, leisure, or to see family over the holiday season, you’ll quickly discover that different cities and states have different guidelines for entry to help suppress the spread of COVID-19. Some may mandate quarantines for travelers, while others require a negative test result or completed health forms.

Fortunately, there’s a way to navigate this slightly dystopian travel environment. United Airlines has released an interactive map of the country that allows visitors to see what each state and region requires for guests—or if it’s even open at all.

The map also allows users to drill down and see if their destination has restaurants and other non-essential businesses open as well as any mask policies.

New York, for example, is currently requiring many visitors to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival depending on the community spread in their point of departure. Oregon has no such restrictions but face coverings are required.

The map is updated regularly and can also be found on United’s mobile app.

[h/t Lifehacker]