YORK, Pa.—As things continue to evolve regarding the coronavirus, convenience stores are adjusting the way they do business, sometimes on a daily basis. For example, Rutter’s is giving its team members a $2 an hour wage boost starting today, while salaried restaurant and store managers will receive a temporary $100 weekly bonus.
The company is also giving emergency paid sick leave and extended family and medical emergency leave to dairy employees and is providing 80 hours of paid time off, as of April 2, for any qualified employee who has been advised by a health-care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
Sheetz is suspending self-serve coffee, bakery items and cold beverages in its stores, the company said in a news release. “These changes are in the best interest of our customers and employees as we remain a vital resource for our communities,” Travis Sheetz, president and CEO, told the York Dispatch.
To purchase coffee at Sheetz locations, customers must now use the touchscreen kiosks or request help from an employee. Sheetz has also added scan and checkout on its app to allow customers to bypass the cashier in its stores. One customer tweeted that the company “named it shcan and go.”
Meanwhile, retailers continue to support their teams who are now on the front lines after c-stores and gas stations were deemed essential businesses at the federal level.
Pilot Flying J said via social media that it has bumped pay by $2 an hour retroactive to March 19 for all team members in travel centers until the end of April and is providing them free meals.
Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores announced it is giving hourly store employees a $2 per hour pay increase and a $100 bonus “in light of the hard work and dedication they've shown to America's professional truckers during a national emergency.” Love's is also providing free meals for employees while they work. The pay increases, which also include Speedco and Love's Truck Care hourly employees, will run through May.
Meanwhile, here’s some apparel-washing advice for employees who interact with customers every day in the age of coronavirus. MarketWatch reports that “infectious-disease experts say you generally don’t need to […wash your clothes] more often than usual.” As Sarah Fortune, a professor and chair of the department of immunology and infectious diseases at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, said, “[F]or most of us, it is all about our hands and face.”
For those who work in essential industries outside of the medical profession, like grocery and convenience stores, frequent washing of clothes worn to work makes good hygiene sense in general, but these experts emphasized washing hands and avoiding touching your face as the most important personal safety procedures. “Our biggest bang for buck is social distancing from humans [and] washing our hands,” said Faheem Younus, chief of infectious diseases at the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, “but at the same time, not worrying about surfaces to a point where it paralyzes us.”
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.