Some health practices are always important. For instance, even without a pandemic, a person should cough into the crook of their arm, sneeze into a tissue, and wash their hands. But the coronavirus has made these rules especially important. Because COVID-19 can spread by droplets, such as when a person sneezes, stores are adding sneeze guards to checkout lanes.
These stores include Walmart, Kroger, Whole Foods, and Albertsons. Installing sneeze guards at checkout provides an important barrier at a volatile location. Many stores have unrolled ways to keep customers separated by at least six feet. But sneeze guards provide a shield when social distancing can’t be so easily maintained. They protect cashiers and customers alike.
Sneeze guards are coming to a store near you
Many different stores and restaurants have had to close their doors. In the case of the latter, they offer takeout exclusively, with no one allowed to eat in the dining areas. But essential shops like grocery stores can keep their doors open so people can get important items for daily life. Many chains are installing sneeze guards when social distancing can’t be so strictly conducted: checkout. Walmart, already in the spotlight for stocking up during the pandemic, is putting in shields at 4,700 of its U.S.-based stores. Additionally, shield guards will pop up at its 600 Sam’s Club locations in the next three weeks.
Albertsons joins this initiative by adding shields at 2,200 of its locations, all within two weeks. Albertsons also maintains brands that include Safeway and Vons. At 2,700 Kroger locations, sneeze guards shall protect cashiers from any potentially unhealthy customers, which in turn will keep them from spreading it to healthy shoppers and family and friends. No exact numbers are available regarding Whole Foods, but CNN reports the chain is in the process of rolling out barriers at its checkout lanes as well.
And stores are using other means to encourage social distancing
Sneeze guards are not the only way stores are working to keep customers and employees safe and healthy. In addition to these barriers, Walmart, Albertsons, Kroger, and Target are adding floor decals, posters, or both to their store. These shall outline where customers can stand to maintain the six feet distance as part of the social distancing regimen outlined by the CDC.
After facing on-and-off criticism for its treatment of employees, Walmart is adding new measures to ensure their health, which goes back to protecting shoppers’ health. Employees have access to telehealth doctor appointments with a copay of around $4. They have also cut their hours because of intense demands from quarantines. However, the store keeps time set aside exclusively for senior citizens, who are at high risk for the virus. Employees at Kroger can wear protective masks if they so choose, while Target is waiving fees for plastic and paper bags after prohibiting sales of reusable bags. Back at Walmart, employees now have a backpack-esque style sprayer to more comfortable, thoroughly and efficiently clean shopping carts. We’ve already seen some big changes in our daily routines. Now, we see stores transforming as well.