In light of Washington Gov. Jay Inlee's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order announced Monday, Safeway grocery stores, a subsidiary of Albertsons, announced it was putting several measures in place to protect the health and safety of both customers and its staff.
In a press release issued Tuesday, the company said it is doing everything it could to "ensure ... customers have access to the food, medications and other essential goods they need during the 'Stay At Home' time frame."
Those measures include:
Installing Plexiglas partitions in checkout lanes in all Washington stores to serve as protective barrier between customers and cashiers and provide added reassurance and peace of mind. Customers are asked to stand behind the partition during their transaction.
CDC cleanliness guidelines, such as frequent hand washing, hand sanitizer use, and surface cleaning are diligently followed.
All departments, restrooms and other high-touch points of the store will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day, as well as a deep cleanse at the end of each business day. Cart wipes and hand sanitizer stations continue to be available at key locations within the store.
At the request of our employees, customers are asked to bring in reusable bags to pack their own groceries. Employees wanting to wear gloves are permitted to do so. The company is considering the use of masks by our employees, but will hold on final decision until hospitals are fully stocked with masks needed by medical providers.
Store have adjusted their hours to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. to give employees time to restock shelves, deep clean the store in its entirety, and get ready to serve customers.
Posters and floor tape marks have been placed around the store to remind customers to practice social distancing and remain six feet — about the length of two shopping carts — apart to avoid coming in contact with anyone who may have been infected by COVID-19 but not yet be exhibiting symptoms. Next week, stores will begin installing floor decals with instructions. The ultimate goal is to prevent persons from being within six feet of each other for more than 10 minutes, per CDC guidelines.
Dedicated shopping hours have been set aside for senior citizens and other at-risk populations, such as pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems, who have been advised to avoid leaving home as much as possible. The dedicated times are Tuesday and Thursday, 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Days may be added if demand increases. Customers who are not categorized as “vulnerable” are asked to please respect these hours.
The company has implemented enhanced delivery services with “contact free” procedures and also changed its signature processes so delivery drivers can sign for customers when delivering orders.
Free same-day and next-day pharmacy deliveries are being offered for prescriptions via ScriptDrop through at least May 1.
"We cannot express enough gratitude for our associates’ dedication and commitment during this unprecedented time, as they work to support their neighbors and provide essential service to communities across the country," the press release said. "Our associates are truly the people to thank for keeping our stores and pharmacies operating to provide an essential service for our customers and the communities we serve."
Safeway announced a temporary $2 per-hour-worked increase, above and beyond the regular hourly pay and overtime for front-line employees.