As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to changes the way that we do food retail, an emerging concern among consumers is their continued personal safety as states begin to relax regulations and life begins to (somewhat) return back to normal. In recent months, grocery retail has upped its game in assuring the safety of it’s employees, and apparently consumers have found this reassuring as well. We continue to observe the efforts by grocery retail in placing barriers between employees and the general public and instituting required distancing. Given the volume of food that is handled by employees, the CDC and World Health Organization have released continued guidelines for both the consumer and the grocery professionals to observe. Without further adieu, here are the top food retail safety tips to observe during COVID-19.
The CDC has released specific guidelines for employees and shoppers alike in regards to safe hand-washing techniques to prevent the spread of germs and disease when interacting with one another within the grocery retail space. Here are the tightened recommendations:
- Dispense a paper towel, so it is ready before wetting hands
- Wet hands with warm (100°F/38°C) water
- Apply an appropriate amount of soap
- Rub hands vigorously together for 20 seconds
- Clean between the fingers, the backs of the hands and the fingertips
- Rinse hands under warm water to remove soap
- Dry hands with the paper towel
- Turn off faucet with a paper towel
- Use the paper towel to contact door surfaces to exit
- Throw away paper towel in a trash receptacle
In an attempt to protect both the public and the grocery retail employees, many grocery stores have opted to install plastic or plexi-glass barriers to protect all parties from the spread of the virus due to close proximity. Many grocery retail stores have also opted to place markers throughout the store so that lines can form at checkout respecting the “6 feet apart” guideline suggested by the World Health Organization. Continued precautions have been taken to assist the employees and customers in transactions requiring contact as well.
During checkout, employees can often be seen wearing gloves and the payment processing device is also covered in a thin layer of plastic that is often sanitized after every transaction by the employee bagging the food items in assistance to the cashier. Courier services, in many places, have also been suspended to limit the employee-to-customer exposure as well.
In addition to the sanitization of hands and payment processing devices, grocery stores have taken the opportunity to be vigilant in the sanitization of all surfaces within the store. Shelves and food items themselves have been cleaned with disinfectant. The provision of wipes containing disinfectant have been offered to customers at nearly every open doorway to allow them to sanitize their shopping carts and any other items that they have brought into the store.
Grocery stores have to naturally operate under a specific protocol for the mixture of sanitizing solutions on a regular basis but heightened precautions have been taken due to the concern of shoppers and their overall concern for employees interacting with the general public.