Retailer roundup, managing COVID-19

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Retailer roundup, managing COVID-19

By Dan Ochwat - 03/24/2020

Grocery, drug, mass, convenience and more –  all retailers are stepping up in big ways during the COVID-19 crisis.

Key retailers have been deemed “critical” by the Department of Homeland and Security and are tasked with being fully operational during the pandemic. Here's a bulleted list of what retailers said they're doing to maintain safety in stores.

7-Eleven

  • Hiring around 20,000 additional store employees corporately or through its franchise owners.
  • Added contactless delivery through its 7NOW app, and is waiving delivery fees through April 30.
  • Enhanced its standards and procedures for hygiene, handwashing, sanitation, food handling and preparation in stores.
  • Discontinued personal cups for beverages in foodservice; baked goods and condiments are coming pre-packaged.
  • Working with DoorDash to deliver essential items to homes.

Albertsons

  • Partnered with 17 businesses in hospitality and industries where employees are being furloughed.
  • Hiring 30,000 more workers.
  • Offered appreciation pay to employees on the frontlines, a $2 an hour increase.
  • Placed Plexiglas at checkout to shield cashiers and consumers; enacted social distances of at leas 6 feet at checkout and stations like pharmacy/deli/bakery.

Aldi

  • Adjusted store hours from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., with some stores instituting temporary closures during the day for restocking and cleaning.
  • Hiring more workers for the distribution centers and in stores.

Amazon

  • Hiring 100,000 employees for warehouses and delivery.
  • Donated $100 million to Feeding America.
  • Raising wages for hourly workers handling fulfillment and delivery.
  • Prioritizing essential items like household staples, sanitizers, medical supplies, baby formulas and not delivering nonessential items with Prime.

BJ's Wholesale Club

  • Donated $500,000 to local organizations to help feed and care for those in need.
  • Increased wages by $2 an hour, and managers and key personnel will receive a one-time bonus of $500-$1,000.
  • Instituted paid leave for those in emergency.

Brookshire's Grocery Company

  • Offering a 5% discount on store brand product for first responders.
  • Donated $1 million to local food banks.
  • Instituted social distancing measures such as floor decals and partitions at checkout.
  • Hired 1,700 employees and is offering bonus pay for associates and employees.
  • Bringing food on-site to employees.

Costco

  • A letter from the CEO Craig Jelinek outlined changes such as limited quantities on virus-related items.
  • Increased protocols in sanitizing shopping cart handles, shelves, front-end belts and registers.
  • Associates are practicing social distancing.
  • Limiting card members to two shoppers per store.

CVS Health

  • Awarding bonuses, $150-$500 to pharmacists, health care professionals, store associates, managers and other site-based hourly employees.
  • Hiring 50,000 employees full- and part-time workers.
  • Paid leave for employees with confirmed cases of COVID-19 or need for quarantine, as well as elder and child care for employees.
  • Opened a COVID-19 testing site in the parking lot of a store in Massachusetts.

Dollar General

  • Adding 50,000 workers by the end of April.
  • Senior store hour at the start of each day and closing one hour early.

Dollar Tree

  • Hiring 25,000 associates inside stores and distribution centers, both full- and part-time positions.
  • Modified hours at all Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores, closing earlier at 8 p.m.

The Giant Company

  • Adjusted store hours to be from 6 a.m.-10 p.m., and 24-hour locations remain open 24 hours.
  • Senior and high-risk consumers hour at the start of each day.
  • Social distancing action in stores with Plexiglas at checkout and markings for distance in lines.
  • Associates are wearing masks and gloves.
  • Donated $250,000 to a Pennsylvania food bank

H-E-B

  • Donated $3 million to local organizations that serve seniors and low-income families.
  • Adjusted store hours from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Delivery to seniors.
  • Social distancing in stores, including partitions between consumers and cashiers, decals on the floor for proper distancing, limiting entrance to stores to one entrance and sanitized shopping cart handles.
  • Free next day curbside pickup is being offered to encourage more social distancing.

The Home Depot

  • Closing stores at 6 p.m. for cleaning and restocking.
  • Limiting store traffic and canceling spring promotions to not drive traffic.
  • Social distancing markers throughout the stores.
  • Temperature checks of store associates before they start work.
  • Increasing paid time off for all of its workers, which can be used at any time by end of the year.
  • No longer selling N-95 masks and sending them directly to healthcare workers.
  • Limiting in-home installations to only completing repairs.

Hy-Vee

  • Hiring temporary, part-time hourly employees in all of its stores, as well as in distribution centers in Chariton, Iowa, and Cherokee, Iowa.
  • Has added signage that directs shoppers to shop an aisle only going one way, eliminating the close proximity of shoppers down the aisle.
  • Launched a campaign to raise $1 million to help local food banks restock shelves; the retailer will match $1 donations.
  • Awarding employees a 10% bonus onto their hourly hours worked through April 12.
  • Protective windows installed at checkouts; first to deploy barriers in front and behind the checker. 
  • Reusable bags have been banned temporarily and in-store returns temporarily suspended.
  • Adjusted store hours from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and dedicating one hour to shoppers considered high-risk.
  • Dedicated an hour on Thursdays to its online shopping service with free delivery from DoorDash to assist elderly and high-risk shoppers.

Kroger

  • Committed $3 million to assist communities in need of food through its Zero Hunger I Zero Waste Foundation.
  • Enacted a one-time $300 bonus to all frontline, hourly employees and $150 to all part-time associates.
  • Expanded its paid sick leave for coronavirus-related emergency leaves.
  • Hiring workers at all stores and distribution centers, including for chains it owns like Fred Meyer.
  • Stores are installing Plexiglas at checkout.
  • Testing one-way shopping down aisles.
  • Limiting the amount of store traffic.

Lidl U.S.

  • Announced it will hire 1,000 temporary employees for distribution and in-store jobs. The jobs will run for two months.
  • Under CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, the new staffers without health insurance are immediately eligible for medical benefits covering testing and treatment related to COVID-19 at no cost.

Lowe's

  • Stores will close Easter Sunday to relieve staff.
  • $2 an hour wage increase for all full-time, part-time and seasonal employees in stores or distribution centers through April. 
  • Stores close at 7 p.m.
  • All N-95 medical masks will not be sold and instead donated to medical organizations.
  • Social distancing measures include marked floor signage and the removal of aisle displays.
  • Plexiglas shields at checkout and customer service.
  • Increased third-party cleaning crews.
  • Shipped an additional 10,000 truckloads of essential products.

Meijer

  • Special shopping hours for those in the community that are higher risk to the virus, receiving a closed hour to shop from 7 a.m.-8 a.m., Mondays and Wednesdays.
  • Limiting how many shoppers enter stores.
  • Additional special hour of shopping for first responders.
  • Adjusted store hours of 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Suspended its deli salad and meat counter service, selling prepared and packaged foods in refrigerated cases instead.
  • Donated more than $2 million to 400 Simply Give food pantry partners in the midwest.
  • Added Plexiglas shields at checkout and pharmacy.
  • Temporarily suspended weekly sales ad to limit traffic in stores.
  • Completing temperature checks of store associates. 

Natural Grocers

  • Stores closing early at 8:05 p.m., with a special shopping hour for seniors, pregnant or high-risk shoppers on Sunday and Wednesday.
  • Front entrance staffed with a worker to clean all carts and ensure social distancing.
  • Limited shopper traffic.
  • Hired 700 additional employees.
  • Staff wear masks and disposable gloves.
  • Medical insurance around COVID-19 testing.
  • $2 an hour wage increase ($1 an hour is permanent while another $1 an hour goes through May 1).
  • Plexiglas shields up at cashiers and key areas.

Publix

  • Hiring thousands by the end of March to fill spots in stores and distribution.
  • Senior shopping hour of 7 a.m.-8 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday., and store hours adjusted to 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Offering rent relief for small business tenants in shopping centers.
  • Introduced contactless mobile payment.

Rite Aid

  • Offering "Hero Pay" — a $2-per-hour increase in hourly workers' wages at stores, Rediclinic locations and distribution centers effective March 15 through at least May 2.
  • Increasing employee discount to 35% through at least April. 
  • Offering "Hero Bonus" to DC and store managers, as well as pharmacists
  • Offering "Pandemic Pay," which ensures employees are compensated "fairly" if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or forced to quarantine themselves due to exposure to the illness. 

Schnucks

  • Handed out $605.000, including $500,000 to the St. Louis COVD-19 Regional Response Fund and the rest to local charities in other states where its stores are.

  • Has hired 500 new workers who might have been furloughed or let go and looking to hire more.

  • Paying a $500 bonus to full-time workers and $250 to part-time workers and organizing paid leave if workers ill with coronavirus.

  • Plexiglas supporters are being placed at service counters and checkout.

  • Working with local restaurants hurting during this time to supply catered lunches to the stores for employees.

Stop & Shop

  • Adding at least 5,000 associates for part-time work in stores, distribution centers and delivery operations across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
  • Donated $1 million to local food banks.

Target

  • Hourly wage increase by $2 an hour to associates and paying out bonuses to hourly store team leads in a range of $250-$1,500, and expanded benefits for associates such as backup care during school closings and paid sick leave.
  • Expected to donate $10 million through its Target Foundation to local, national and global organizations responding to the pandemic.
  • Reduced hours to close by 9 p.m., reserved first hour of shopping for vulnerable guests on Wednesday.
  • Monitoring and limiting crowds in stores if traffic too high.

Tops Friendly Markets

  • Plexiglas shields will be added to as many front-end registers that it can across its 162 stores. Where no shields present, face shields will be worn.
  • Social distancing protocols have been put in place at checkout and associates will be wearing gloves.
  • Also one associate is assigned to cleaning at each store, sanitizing
    registers, check stands, conveyor belts, customer service desks, point of sale devices and other frequently touched surfaces.

Trader Joe’s

  • Adjusted store hours from 9 a.m.-7 p.m., as well as special assistance for seniors during the 9 a.m.-10 a.m. hour everyday.
  • Paid-for sick time for all crew.
  • Beverage and food sampling has been suspended in stores.
  • Closing Easter Sunday to give employees a break.
  • Limiting some stores to 35 shoppers at a time.

Wakern Food

  • A $2 an hour increase in pay to retail store associates across its banners.
  • Hiring across its warehouses and stores.
  • Enhanced sick leave and leave benefits.

Walgreens

  • Adding 9,500 full- and part-time jobs, such as customer service associates, pharmacy technicians and shift leads.
  • Bonus pay of $300 for full-time and $150 for part-time hourly workers in the stores and distribution.
  • Reduced hours to have more time cleaning and stocking.
  • Social distancing lines that allow 6 feet of space between shoppers.
  • Offering associates a free mobile app Sanvello to provide peer support and clinically validated coping tools to help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Expanded its drive-thru window service to include expanded items like virus-related products, disinfectant wipes and food.
  • Delivery with Postmates will be enhanced to reach reach 7,000 stores nationwide.
  • Employees receive face covers and temperature checks are being done on associates before they work.
  • Drive-thru COVID-19 testing expanded to 15 sites in seven states.

Walmart

  • Donated $25 million spread out to various food banks, local communities and organizations fighting the spread of the virus.
  • Limiting traffic in stores.
  • Looking to hire 150,000 employees across its supply chain.
  • Paying a $300 bonus for full-time associates and a $150 bonus for part-time associates that would total more than $365 million.
  • Working with federal, state and local officials to open parking lots for COVID-19 testing.
  • Adjusted store hours from 7 a.m.-8:30 p.m., with special shopping hours for vulnerable shoppers.
  • Auto Care Centers were closed to assist associates with stocking and cleaning stores.
  • Touting its contactless pay features through its mobile payment system and updated it so no longer need to touch a touchscreen to activate it.

Whole Foods

  • New store hours of 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., with a senior at the start of each day.
  • $2 an hour wage increase for all workers.
  • Hot bars, salad bars, soup bars, restaurants, taprooms and cafes will be temporarily closed.