Grocery stores face giant problems amid COVID-19 pandemic

Hoping to help flatten the curve, local grocery stores are taking precautions to ensure the safest environment for their customers. These precautions include cleaning carts and checkout lanes, and making sure customers and employees are wearing masks.

Taking precautions to keep customers and employees safe, local grocery stores hope to be able to control the spread of COVID-19. The precautions stores are taking are aimed at keeping surfaces sanitized in order to keep the food and customers from spreading the virus to others.
According to Henning’s Manager Caleb Kolb, working during the virus is like a whole new world.
“A lot has changed working at a supermarket during this virus. There are many new restrictions in place,” Kolb said.
These restrictions include one way doors and aisles, cleaning of carts after each use and checkout lanes at the top of each hour, as well as cashiers and baggers being required to wash their hands at the top of each hour.
“We are also limited as to how many cash registers we can operate at one time,” Kolb said. “The governor has restricted stores to operate every other register. Cashiers and baggers are now asked to wear masks and gloves, and customers are also asked to wear masks.”
Though stores are trying to keep customers content while keeping them safe, not everyone is happy with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s decisions.
According to Henning’s cashier Keeley Schaffer, though the store recommends customers wear masks, not everyone does.
“It’s been a little bit of a struggle for me because some customers don’t follow the guidelines, and when you ask them to wear a mask or to follow social distancing they get angry, and my patience is very thin,” Schaffer said.
While some stores choose only to warn customers, others take matters into their own hands.
According to Giant cashier Nick Gonce, “If a customer is not wearing a mask, we have to issue them a paper that says “PA Department of Health Mask Requirement.”
This paper states that businesses have the right to turn away customers who do not comply with the states mask mandates.
Along with the stress caused by the divide among people who choose to and not to wear masks, stress and agitation are also caused from more common items like soap and toilet paper becoming harder for customers to find in stores
Giant Front End Supervisor Cole Schreiner also notices that “customers have become irate and more aggressive,” especially with the noticeable influx of customers with larger orders.
While this may be a stressful time for customers, employees have also felt the tension surrounding the virus.
Henning’s Bagger Matt Smerecki feels that it is his duty to help keep customers calm and happy during the pandemic, and he knows this stress is temporary.
“The experience has been pretty stressful, but necessary. I feel as though my role is necessary to ease the burden of my coworkers and make sure the customers’ needs are met during these hard times,” Smerecki said.