Connecticut Food Association sets new safety guidelines for grocery stores during coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Food Association has issued new safety guidelines for protecting grocery store employees and their daily customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new guidelines are set to change how people do their grocery shopping including social distancing at the check-out line and limiting customer capacity in stores across the state.

“We really implemented on the fly a bunch of ways to keep traffic flowing correctly and keep our associates safe and customers safe when they come into our stores,” said Connecticut Food Association President, Wayne Pecse.

The new guidelines include social distancing by encouraging markets to play six-foot markers on the ground so customers know how far to space out at the grocery store. It’s also recommended to sanitize the cart or basket you use. Most stores offer wipes so you don’t have to bring your own.

Another guideline is limiting family trips to the store to comply with the recommended capped occupancy of 50%.

“We’re trying to ask people to come in one at a time when they can,” said Pecse.

Elm City Market in New Haven has already begun implementing some of the safety guidelines ahead of the recommendation.

“We’re not only having the markers, we’re getting all employees face guards,” said Hannah Pimenta, Assistant Store Manager. “Everyone is wearing gloves. As of next week, we’re hoping to provide customers with gloves and face masks as well.”

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The safety recommendations are packed with one goal in mind: keep customers across Connecticut stocked and safe.

“This is a time where we have to work together for the sake of our own communities, so we’ll get through this and get back to the way things were over time but during this period,” said Pecse. “It’s important that we allow space for others so they feel comfortable as well.”

Among the guidelines, there is also a recommendation to stop all self-serve foods and product sampling as one more measure to stop the spread of COVID-19.

A full list can be found below:

  • Occupancy capped at 50% of store capacity based on local fire code.  Staff will maintain a count of the number of customers entering and exiting stores.
  • Clearly mark 6’ spacing in lines on floor at checkout lines and other high-traffic areas and, as much as practicable, provide ways to encourage 6’ spacing in lines outside the store. Post conspicuous signage and floor markings to direct customers and limit bottlenecks and/or encourage spacing and flow in high-density areas of stores.
  • Have aisles be one-way in stores where practicable to maximize spacing between customers. Identify the one-way aisles with conspicuous signage and/or floor markings.
  • Whenever possible maximize space between customers and employees at checkout lines, including, but not limited to, only using every other checkout line.
  • Install Plexiglas shields to separate employees from customers at checkout lines and other areas in the store where practicable.
  • Communicate with customers through in-store signage, and public service announcements and advertisements where practicable, that should there only be one person per household during shopping trips, whenever possible.
  • Discontinue all self-serve foods (e.g., salad bar, olive bar) and product sampling.
  • Encourage “touchless” credit card transactions. If not possible, sanitize credit card machines (including pen) throughout the day.
  • Cart and basket handles sanitized between uses (can be done by customers).

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