Sobeys installing plexiglass cashier shields as grocers ramp up COVID-19 measures

Two major grocery store chains are taking steps to protect their employees from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

In a statement Friday, Sobeys said it began installing plexiglass shields to protect cashiers at its stores.

“We’ve looked across the world at best practices and these shields stand out as a strong safety precaution,” the statement said.

The Loblaw company announced it is planning reduced hours at its grocery and Shoppers Drug Mart stores to allow staff more time to clean and to rest.

Sobeys store hours will now be reduced to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to allow more time for cleaning and restocking shelves.

Sobeys also said its employees are now washing their hands every 15 minutes and more resources have been added at the front end of stores, allowing cashiers to wipe down common areas more often.

Loblaw also put out a statement from executive chairman Galen Weston saying Loblaws grocery stores will now be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the first hour dedicated to seniors and people with health concerns.

Hours at Shoppers Drug Mart will be reduced “based on the needs of our community,” the statement said. The reduced hours are to allow for extra cleaning “and a bit of rest.”

To encourage social distancing, Loblaws grocery stores will also begin limiting the number of customers allowed in the stores at the same time.

The statement also said stores will temporarily waive the five-cent plastic bag fee to discourage people from using reuseable bags. People who bring reuseable bags are asked to bag their items themselves.

These changes are in effect right away, the statement said.

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