Connecticut Grocers Implement New Safety Measures Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Grocers are working around the clock to try to keep store shelves stocked. Considered essential workers, they’re also are also putting their health on the line.

Now stores across the state are taking extra precautions to keep them safe.

If you haven’t already noticed the changes, next time you go grocery shopping you will.

“I noticed the new sign out front that says please respect social distancing,” said Anna McCarthy-Reynolds of West Hartford.

Tape now designates how far customers should stand apart at the checkout aisle.  There are also plastic shields at the cash register.

“I thought that that was interesting.  I’ve only ever seen those in bodegas in New York,” said Pratima Singh of Hartford. "There’s a lot of things that I’m noticing are like similar to places in New York where there’s a lot more people and a lot more germs.  I’m like oh we’re here in Connecticut and we also have to take those safety precautions.”

“They have hand sanitizer and wipes right outside when you enter in,” added McCarthy-Reynolds.

The majority of the grocery stores in the state are implementing these guidelines spelled out by the Connecticut Food Association, including making customers bag their own groceries if they bring a reusable bag from home.

“I’ll comply to anything that they do to keep us safe,” said Karen Place of West Hartford.

Connecticut grocers are asking customers to sanitize their reusable bags before they enter the store, but several New England states have lifted their plastic bag bans and are banning these bags instead.  In Massachusetts, stores have been ordered to provide paper and plastic for free.

“If they say plastic is safer I’ll go back to using plastic,” said Pratima Singh of Hartford.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides took to social media yesterday calling on Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont to follow suit, saying we’re putting our essential grocery workers in peril.

 “If it’s easier on the people to get what they need to get I say do it for now,” said Place.

The head of the Connecticut Food Association, Wayne Pesce, said his biggest priority is keeping grocery workers on the front lines safe.

“That’s at the top of what we’re doing. Resupplying and getting shelves filled is secondary, and now bags goes beyond that,” said Pesce.

Pesce said callouts by employees have doubled to 10%.  Some stores are on a hiring spree, others are giving raises.

“The most important thing we can be doing is not about giving folks money right now it’s about giving them information so that they don’t catch the virus because they’re in a situation dealing with the public,” said Pesce.

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