SEATTLE — Grocery stores are taking action to help maintain social distancing and keep you and employees safe.
And each store is handing the COVID-19 pandemic a little differently.
Social distancing is the “new norm” but people say one of the biggest challenges is maintaining that six foot distance at grocery stores.
“That’s the hardest problem,” said Anitha Pasupaty, who was at the Ballard Fred Meyer.
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At Fred Meyer stores, you’ll now now see "X" marks taped at every checkout line. Signs explain it’s to help ensure proper distance between yourself and other shoppers. Fred Meyer has also removed bulk open container bulk food products, and suspended returns on product returns.
Grocery Stores are implementing social distancing & other policies with the #COVIDー19 pandemic.— Deedee Sun (@DeedeeKIRO7) March 22, 2020
Fred Meyer has X marks 6’ apart at checkout lanes. No bulk open containers, & no returns.
Stores also looked much less busy compared to last weekend! @KIRO7Seattle pic.twitter.com/y89KGZE708
Trader Joe’s is keeping an eye on the crowds inside and whenever it looks too busy, people are asked to stand in line outside until shoppers leave.
“I had no idea this was going to happen coming in here. I was like alright I guess I'll stand and keep my distance from everybody,” said Matt Zender, in like at the Queen Anne Trader Joe’s.
Grocery stores are having customers maintain #socialdistancing. A line to get inside Trader Joe’s in Ballard tonight! #Covid_19 #coronavirus@KIRO7Seattle pic.twitter.com/Wvm534rcGG— Deedee Sun (@DeedeeKIRO7) March 21, 2020
It's the same story at Whole Foods - a sign says its "managing the flow of traffic into and out of stores,” with some stores drawing major lines.
Safeway and Albertsons are be installing "sneeze guards" at check out lanes, so a clear shield separates cashiers and customers.
At Ballard Market, the store has suspended the use of reusable bags and containers.
And just about every grocery store has employees wiping down carts after each use.
Another impact of the COVID-19 pandemic you'll still notice - most stores still have some empty shelves, with shortages on paper products, cleaning supplies, and some food staples.
“Safeway didn't have any eggs,” Zender said..
“Pasta, beans, and rice - out completely,” Pasupaty said.
Shoppers say they're still working on getting used to "social distancing,” but are glad to see the changes.
“I’m really happy they do it, I believe preventing is better than curing,” said Hana Tran, who was shopping at the Queen Anne Trader Joe’s.
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