To help protect its associates and shoppers from the COVID-19 virus, the 354 stores that make up Wakefern Food Corp. have initiated its latest protective measure – a temperature monitoring program.
Beginning this week, the company is using non-contact forehead infrared thermometers to take the temperature of associates and vendors as they arrive for work. Anyone with an elevated temperature will be sent home.
Wakefern plans to roll out temperature monitoring at all its 354 stores, as well as its warehouses. Those stores include ShopRite, The Fresh Grocer, Price Rite Marketplace, Gourmet Garage and Dearborn Market across nine states including New York and New Jersey.
This program is the latest in a series of safety measures at the stores. Earlier this month, the cooperative installed Plexiglas shields at cash registers, customer service counters and pharmacies. Stores also recently began limiting occupancy during peak shopping hours and, in keeping with new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all store associates wear protective masks.
“We are closely monitoring the fast-moving COVID-19 emergency and all new recommendations and CDC protocols, and using that information to guide our decisions,” said Joe Colalillo, chairman and CEO of Wakefern Food Corp.
All stores are also emphasizing social distancing with special signs, in-store announcements and floor markers, and many are also offering shopping hours or designated checkout lanes for seniors and other at-risk customers.In addition to rigorously enforcing established protocols for proper food handling, hand washing, hygiene and store sanitation, stores are also taking extra steps to deep clean and sanitize food contact surfaces and high-touch areas such as credit card pin pads and shopping carts. Customers who bring their own bags are asked to bag their own orders, and associates may only pack a customer’s order using store provided bags.