Sobeys parent company Empire Co. has started installing plexiglass shields at cash registers to protect its employees and customers from the coronavirus.
The grocery chain began installing the shields on Thursday night, chief executive Michael Medine said in a letter to customers released Friday.
“They will not be in every store immediately, but we’ll install them as quickly as we can,” Medine said.
The company is also reducing store hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in an effort to support extra sanitation protocols and allow more time to restock shelves.
Staff are required to wash their hands every 15 minutes and cashiers will receive additional resources to clean common areas more frequently. Stores will also have floor markers installed at checkout to encourage a two-metre distance between customers.
“We understand we are an essential service to all Canadians, and we want you to know that we are doing everything in our power to maintain our stores to the highest standard of cleanliness and safety,” Medine wrote.
The grocery store chain is not the only one implementing new protocols amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Loblaw chief executive Galen Weston said in a video posted Thursday that the company, which also operates Shoppers Drug Mart, is reducing store hours to allow additional cleaning as well as relief for staff.
Weston also said the company will pre-package more products to reduce touching, and limit the number of customers allowed in its busiest stores to ensure social-distancing is being practiced.
“These changes will lead to a very different shopping experience,” Weston said. “But they are necessary.”
More to come.