At grocery store, shoppers asked to help in COVID-19 response

Published: Apr. 2, 2020 at 10:19 PM CDT
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The grocery store is one of the few places people can venture during this time of stay at home.

Grocers are also changing to adapt to this new normal that has seen shelves barren and many critical items in limited supply.

In response, stores are shortening hours to spend more time cleaning, sanitizing and stocking. Time is set aside to allow seniors their own hour to shop when stores first open.

Supermarkets are adding staff to meet the demands of consumers.

Practices of social distancing are also being practiced in stores.

"It’s just different," said President and CEO of Retain Grocers Association of Kansas and Missouri Jon McCormick said. "It’s not the way we’ve been used to. We’ve been very social being, and we’re not learning how to be a little bit antisocial and keep our distance."

Shoppers are asked to change their routine as well. These are five ways consumers are being advised to help.

1) Don't make the trip to the store a family outing.

Already Costco and Menards have announced restrictions on the number of people in a group or family unit that can enter at one time.

Other stores are asking families designated one or two people that will complete the shopping to reduce the number of people in the store at once.

"The less people that are out and about away from their homes, I think, the better," said McCormick.

2) Follow the guidelines stores are putting in place.

Some supermarkets are placing measurements on the floor at checkouts to practice social distancing of keeping shoppers six feet part.

Also, if purchases are limited to one or two of an item, don't try to get more.

3) Buy what you need and don't fill your cart necessarily.

In March, stores faced issues with people hoarding items.

"There is some psychology to this," McCormick said. "If someone sees someone hoarding, then they might pick up an extra package or two."

President and CEO of the Retail Grocers Association for Kansas and Missouri Jon McCormick said this isn't a supply issue but demand problem.

4) Don't go into the store to shop while sick.

Options to shop online allow people to drive up to the store and have the groceries placed in their car.

5) Show love and courtesy to the store associates and workers

"Just ask your viewers, when they come into the store, a little thank you would be nice. They’re good people, and they’re really trying to help," said McCormick.

He added, "The people who are checking out your groceries and stocking the shelves and delivering the groceries from the warehouse, those people are extremely critical for the entire country and our lives."

McCormick said more stores are providing face masks and shields to employees. Thursday, he was working on ordering masks for the workers of their member stores.

If your family is facing cabin fever from being stuck inside too long, remember parks and outdoor areas remain open, so people are asked not to have their entire family go to stores.

At the parks or outdoors, people are asked to continue practicing social distancing.