ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Essential businesses are taking active measures to ensure that their stores are clean and that customers can get what they need when they need it. For these retailers, the well-being of their communities is their business.
Giant gas stations have always offered free gas mitts (plastic gloves) and hand sanitizer at the pump, but not many customers took advantage of such gestures until recently, WNEP-TV reports. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, employees have stepped up measures to ensure the mitts and sanitizer stay stocked, too.
“When I am here, personally, I check in the morning and when my shift ends. So when the next guy comes in, he does the same thing. Night crew checks it, too. So when we open first thing in the morning, as soon as customers come, they have stock supply to use,” said Devika Prasad with Giant Food Stores, which is also offering a senior-only shopping hour from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Parent Petroleum’s PRIDE chain, headquartered in Warrenville, Ill., switched to offering its restaurant menus for carryout and delivery via Uber Eats. “With many grocery stores being hit hard by consumers stocking up on products, our restaurants could continue to be busy because of the lack of options available, so we won’t be routing employees to other roles,” Mario Spina, owner and CEO, told NACS Daily.
To protect employees and customers, PRIDE cashiers must wear plastic gloves during their shift, and the 24/7 stores are closing for two hours overnight for a deep sanitization inside. Gas pumps are cleaned multiple times throughout the day. PRIDE stores also have hand sanitizers by each door as well. In addition, Spina said that managers are keeping an eye out for any team member showing signs of illness. “Open communication regarding this is crucially important,” he said.
In a message to customers, Scott Hartman, president and CEO of York, Pa.-based Rutter’s, said “Because our stores and dairy have both been defined as critical food and fuel infrastructures, our team will proudly do our best to stay open and provide important services. We are in constant communication with our stores to evaluate the impact of the virus in all of our communities, so that we can continue to operate safely and effectively. The Rutter’s team and our dedicated suppliers take this responsibility very seriously.”
Rutter’s has closed its in-store seating areas, and employees are stringently cleaning high-touch surfaces, such as food kiosks, fuel pumps, door handles, credit card machines, ATMs and cash registers. “To further help combat the virus, we have installed additional hand sanitizer stations throughout our stores for employee and customer use,” Hartman said.
Meanwhile, in Texas, H-E-B will give $3 million to support organizations who are helping local residents impacted by the pandemic, KPRC-TV reports. “During these trying times, H-E-B is here for Texas,” said Winell Herron, H-E-B Group vice president of public affairs, diversity and environmental affairs. “Now, more than ever, H-E-B is keeping with our spirit of giving and helping here philosophies to do everything we can to support our fellow Texans.”
The chain’s hunger relief program is giving $1.2 million to 18 food banks, which translates into more than six million meals. In addition, H-E-B will also send 15 truckloads of supplies and food to food banks.
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.