Grocery stores install plexiglass at checkout to protect cashiers, customers from coronavirus

Multiple grocery store chains across Massachusetts are installing plexiglass barriers at checkout counters in order to protect both cashiers and customers from the spread of coronavirus.

Officials from Stop & Shop, Shaw’s and Star Market said Tuesday that they have already begun the installation process and that all of their stores in New England will have plexiglass in front of the registers by the end of the week.

A spokeswoman for Albertsons Companies, which operates 150 Shaw’s and Star Market stores across New England, said that more than half of their stores currently have the plexiglass barriers.

“We recognize that we provide an essential service to our communities,” Albertsons CEO Vivek Sankaran said in a statement. “We are doing everything we can to provide a safe, secure and comfortable shopping space for our valued customers. This is an extra step to protect our associates who are in constant contact with the public and provide our customers with extra reassurance as well.”

A spokeswoman for Stop & Shop said that they will also install clear plastic guards at their pharmacy checkout counters.

“We’re asking that customers please stand behind the clear plastic guards until all groceries have been scanned and payment is complete,” a statement from Stop & Shop read. “Because the register area doesn’t allow for the cashier and customer to maintain a distance of 6 feet apart per CDC guidelines, plastic guards have been added for protection.”

Like other stores, Stop & Shop, Shaw’s and Star Market have designated certain shopping hours for seniors, stepped up their cleaning efforts and implemented new social distancing protocols, such as spreading out checkout lines and putting designated waiting points on the floor.

“We have seen our customers begin to implement social distancing on their own with our ‘two carts apart’ reminders as they shop our stores, so we think our floor markers will increase awareness,” Sankaran said in a statement. “We know that with our customers’ help, along with other safety measures we have implemented in our stores, we can create safer environments and help our communities contain the spread of this contagious disease.”

Grocery stores have been labeled as essential businesses and will continue to stay open in Massachusetts, as Gov. Charlie Baker ordered all nonessential businesses to close on Monday after the number of coronavirus deaths in the state doubled overnight.

“Everyone should know, we will always allow all grocery stores, pharmacies and other types of businesses that provide essential goods and services to Massachusetts residents to continue to operate,” Baker said. “We will not stop anyone from accessing these essential businesses.”

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