MARYLAND — Safeway is introducing several new precautionary measures to its stores in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Delaware to further protect associates and customers during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“As we continue to serve our communities during the crisis, the health and safety of everyone who walks through our doors remains a top priority,” said Tom Lofland, President of Safeway’s Eastern Division. “We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding during this unprecedented time.”
The following measures will be implemented this week:
Enhanced social distancing through one-way traffic: Stores will place directional arrows on the floors to promote one-way foot traffic through stores, including up and down aisles. This is in addition to decals already on the floor marking off 6-foot spaces at the checkstands and other areas that can cause lines to form like our deli, bakery, meat, seafood and pharmacy departments.
Limited store occupancy: Stores will limit occupancy levels to one person per 150 square feet during normal business hours and one person per 300 square feet during special hours reserved for seniors and other vulnerable customers (Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7-9 a.m.). Each store will utilize one front entrance/exit to ensure enforcement, and a store associate will be assigned to the doors to manage traffic.
Self-check health screenings: Safeway is posting signs at entrances and in back rooms that ask everyone to perform a self-screening prior to shopping or clocking in. The signs ask associates, customers, and vendors to stay home if:
· a member of their household has been diagnosed with or is suspected to have COVID-19, or
· they have symptoms, including a cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, diarrhea, nausea, or chills and body aches
Dedicated cleaning staff: To maintain enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, Safeway stores have assigned associates to positions exclusively responsible for cleaning surfaces throughout the stores.
Masks for all store, distribution, and manufacturing associates: Safeway is in the process of sourcing reusable masks for all front-line associates and will distribute them as soon as they are available. As a reminder, the CDC continues to recommend social distancing of at least six feet, even while wearing masks.
New store hours:
- To allow for deep cleaning, sanitizing, and restocking, all Safeway Eastern Division stores (with the exception of select stores operating 24 hours/7 days a week) will now be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Safeway has already reserved every Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7-9 a.m. so senior citizens, pregnant women, and customers with compromised immune systems can avoid crowds. We have asked all customers to please respect these special hours for our at-risk customers who need them most.
- To accommodate at-risk customers, all Safeway pharmacies will now open at 8 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
These measures are already in place:
- Installed Plexiglas sneeze guards at check stands.
- Placed social distancing posters and floor markers in the stores.
- Paused self-service operations like soup bars, wing bars, and salad bars.
- Enhanced measures to clean and disinfect all departments, restrooms, and other high touch points of the stores, every day.
- Making cart wipes and hand sanitizer stations available at key locations within the store for customers’ convenience.
- Ensuring that store associates are able to wash their hands at least one time per hour and reminding them to stay home if they feel sick.