grocery stores

Conn. Grocery Stores Advised to Limit Crowds, Increase Social Distancing

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Grocery stores across Connecticut are being advised to limit customer capacity and put in place social distancing measures.

The Connecticut Food Association has issued a series of recommendations to all of its grocery store members:

  1. Allow no more than 50% of store capacity based on local fire code.  Store staff will maintain a count of the number of customers entering and exiting stores.
  2. Communicate one person per household during shopping trips through in-store signage and public service announcements where applicable.
  3. Clearly mark 6’ spacing in lines and other high-traffic areas and consider ways to encourage spacing if there are lines outside. Posting signage to direct customers and to limit bottlenecks/encourage flow in high-density areas of stores.
  4. Maximize space between customers and employees at checkout, including opening every other checkout lane.
  5. Discontinue self-serve foods and product sampling.
  6. Install plexiglass at registers to protect employees checking out consumers.

Some stores have already implemented some of these measures.

The CFA presented an action plan to the governor's office and the Department of Economic and Community Development on Tuesday morning. The plan specifies ideas on communicating the guidelines to retailers and consumers.

The CFA has been working over the last three days with leaders in Norwalk, the General Assembly and the governor's office, according to CFA president Wayne Pesce.

The idea for the recommendations came from conversations with leaders in the city of Norwalk who wanted "additional crowd control measures in retail stores," Pesce said in an e-mail.

"We also recognized the fact that there is a growing concern about limiting crowds in stores and felt a proactive approach was necessary," Pesce said. "Many retailers across the country and locally are taking vital steps to keep associates and customers safe."

Grocery stores have been exempt from the governor's executive orders limiting large gatherings and closing non-essential businesses.

The governor is urging residents to do what they can to keep supermarket employees healthy by staying six feet away from employees and other shoppers, to send only one family member to the store if possible, use credit cards rather than cash if you can, limit contact and, if you choose to wear gloves, properly dispose of them after you leave the store.

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