By Pat Pape
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—When any of the 14 employees at Lou Perrine’s Gas & Groceries in Kenosha, Wisconsin, come to work, they know someone will take their temperature before their shift begins.
“We have a thermometer for the forehead, and we clean it every time we use it,” said Anthony Perrine, store owner. The thermometer is one more tool—along with plexiglass shields, hand sanitizer, an hourly cleaning schedule and gloves in dispensers at the gas island—that the store uses to keep everyone safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
“If an employee records over 99.5 degrees, they know to call management right away if we’re not there,” Perrine said. “We’ll send them home. So far, no one has, but we just want to be cautious and keep them safe. We’re looking out for their health, as well as the health of customers who come in the door.”
Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven is providing all stores with infrared thermometers as well, and where local governments have mandated it, employees are being screened before they start their shift. In all other areas, 7-Eleven requires corporate store employees to take their own temperature within one hour before their scheduled work start time.
Along with other efforts, such as plexiglass shields, clerk-served foods and beverages and an enhanced cleaning schedule, “we’ve requested that customers practice social distancing in stores through posters, and we are reinforcing that they stand six feet away from each other in line with visual floor markers at the front sales counter,” said a company spokesperson.
Kwik Trip of La Crosse, Wisconsin, sends home any coworker who appears sick, said John McHugh, spokesperson. “But that was our policy long before the current crisis.”
In addition, any Kwik Trip employee who returns from traveling to a coronavirus “hot spot” must self-quarantine for up to 14 days.
Meijer, the Michigan supermarket chain, announced last week that it is implementing daily health screenings for team members reporting to work. When employees arrive, they will have their temperature taken and must complete a health assessment questionnaire. If the employee passes all screening questions and does not have an elevated temperature, they can begin work.
Last week, Walmart began checking the temperatures of associates as they arrived at work in stores, clubs and facilities. Any associate with a temperature of 100.0 degrees will be paid for reporting to work and asked to return home and seek medical treatment, if necessary. The associate is not permitted to return to work until they are fever-free for at least three days.
Pat Pape worked in the convenience store industry for more than 20 years before becoming a full-time writer. She writes for NACS Daily and NACS Magazine.
NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.