Regional and national grocery chains across the country are responding to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, also known as coronavirus. Each day, retailers are announcing changes to their operations, from reduced hours to paid sick leave. All have implemented rigorous cleaning procedures and many are pushing hiring to keep up with demand.
Whether it’s exclusive hours for vulnerable shoppers, shutting down foodservice and sampling services or limiting product purchases, Grocery Dive will regularly update this tracker with our own coverage as well as aggregated news from major grocers and delivery providers to track the impact on the grocery industry.
Albertsons’ stores are opening one hour later and closing one hour earlier in order to restock shelves, the retailer told USA Today’s Arizona Network. On March 17, the grocer announced all of Albertsons more than 2,200 stores will reserve its stores 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday for vulnerable shoppers, including seniors, pregnant women and immunocompromised. On March 20, the retailer said it is installing Plexiglass in its checkout lanes as a protective barrier between associates and employees. In addition, all self-serve stations like its soup bar, wing bar and salad bar will be shut down.
The retailer noted in a release that it is enhancing its sick leave policy to support its employees and their families but no specifics were given.
ALDI stores across the country will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily starting Monday and some stores may have limited hours, according to the company website. The retailer is also putting limits on products like toilet paper, pasta, flour, rice, paper towels, tissues and hand sanitizer.
Amazon is providing up to two weeks paid sick leave to all employees quarantined or diagnosed with COVID-19, according to Business Insider. The new policy applies to all Amazon employees including hourly and warehouse workers. It is also establishing a relief fund with a $25 million initial contribution to support its contractors, including delivery drivers. Seasonal employees, courier companies and Amazon Flex drivers can apply for grants that would provide two weeks pay if they are diagnosed with COVID-19. The company will give all hourly employees a $2 per hour raise until the end of April, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The retailer plans to hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Shoppers of the members-only club are only able to purchase two units of products per day including toilet paper and bottled water, according to an email sent to Grocery Dive. The retailer has also stopped handing out food samples.
Fresh Thyme Farmers Market
Starting March 23, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market will enact two dedicated shopping periods for specific members of the community. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., the grocer will be open exclusively for customers over the age of 60, and those with underlying health concerns. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Fresh Thyme will set aside those same hours exclusively for essential healthcare workers and first responders. Fresh Thyme also reduced hours to the general public from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Giant Eagle will give $10 million in bonus payments to employees, the company announced on March 21. Staff at Giant Eagle, Market District, Giant Eagle Pharmacy, and GetGo locations, as well as warehouse workers and those in delivery services will receive the bonuses. Payments will begin immediately and tentatively last until May 2.
Beginning March 23, Giant Eagle will open its stores at 6 a.m., one hour earlier than usual, Monday through Wednesday for shoppers ages 60 and older, differently-abled or immune-compromised. In addition, its gas station and market GetGo has reduced its hours at some locations. Some stores in key locations for the community and first responders will remain open 24/7.
The East Coast grocery chain will limit access to its stores to people over 60 and those with compromised immune systems from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., seven days a week, starting March 20. The retailer is offeringcontact-free delivery through its Giant Delivers program and has paused its grocery order pickup capabilities due to inconsistent supply levels in stores.
Effective March 15, H-E-B has closed its in-store restaurants and limited service to its bakery, floral and deli departments until further notice to shift focus to pickup and delivery operations, according to a company statement. The grocer has waived fees for next-day pickup and pharmacy delivery. In addition, the retailer has reduced store hours at all 400 of its locations, including Central Market, Joe V’s and Mi Tienda. Read more ➔
Effective March 20, Hy-Vee will no longer allow its shoppers to use reusable bags due to sanitary reasons. The retailer will also install temporary window panels to provide a layer of protection between customers and cashiers. The panels are currently in place at its Des Moines store, but will be installed at other stores over the next few days. Hy-Vee’s adjusted grocery store hours will be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, according to a press release. The company also announced on March 18 that it will dedicate the period between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. each day for those people 60 and older, expectant mothers and anybody with an underlying health condition. Pharmacies in most Hy-Vee stores, including Mainstreet, Dollar Fresh and Hy-Vee Drugstore locations, will open earlier to accommodate these shoppers. Its c-stores remain open for its normal hours. In Hy-Vee’s stores, all dining areas and restaurants are now closed and although foodservice will continue to operate, it will be carryout only. All bars inside its Market Grille locations are also closed. Grocery deliveries through its Aisles Online program will now be shipped by Shipt or DoorDash so in-store employees can focus on pickup orders. It is also suspending all weekly advertising circulars.
Instacart will provide all part-time employees and full-service shoppers diagnosed with COVID-19 or put on mandatory quarantine with up to 14 days of pay, according to a blog post written by the company. The new policy is valid for 30 days from March 9. The company is also allowing part-time shoppers to accrue paid time off, a perk that was previously only offered to full-time shoppers in select states. Sick pay accrual will be backdated from the start of the year.
The company has added new services like doorstep delivery, has worked to speed up shopper checkout times and limited the purchase of certain items. It has also created an advisory panel of health, food safety and disease control experts to help create health and safety guidelines. In order to ease the pressure on its workers, Instacart will not allow shopper ratings to affect their access to orders during the pandemic It will forgive all ratings under five stars.
On March 21, the retailer announced it will provide a one-time bonusfor every hourly associate hired before March 1, amounting to $300 for full-time worker and $150 for every part-time associate. Kroger will also expanded its emergency guidelines to include paid time off for self-isolation and symptoms verified by a health professional. Previously, the policy only included employees diagnosed with COVID-19 and those placed under mandatory quarantine. After two weeks, if associates still can’t return to work, they can receive payment for up to 26 weeks via short-term disability. In addition, Kroger is allowing associates who can and need to work from home the ability to do so. The grocer said it is taking “proactive measures” in the event that more associates need to work remotely.Read more ➔
Kroger has adjusted hours at many of its banner stores, including Kroger, Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, King Soopers, Mariano’s and Ralph’s. It is also allowing associates that can and need to work from home, the ability to do so.
Lidl is encouraging employees to stay home if they are sick, modifying their standard attendance policy to accommodate for unexpected periods of absence without penalty. The discounter has also restructured its benefits so that if employees are diagnosed with COVID-19 or if they work in a store or facility that is included within a government or company-instituted quarantine, Lidl will provide up to two weeks of pay while the employee is away from work.
As of March 16, all store hours have changed to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Beginning March 20, Meijer will reduce hours to 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to a press release. However, its stores and pharmacies will provide dedicated shopping time to the elderly and those with chronic health conditions every Tuesday and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., and essential service workers and Meijer team members on Mondays and Wednesdays between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.
Natural Grocers is providing its good4u Crew, both full-time and part-time, up to two weeks paid leave if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed under mandatory quarantine by a public health official. After two weeks if the employee isn’t able to return, additional paid leave will be provided for up to 12 weeks via short-term disability. On March 18, the grocery chain also said that it will raise wages for its hourly employees by $1 per hour beginning with the March 23 pay period and give an unspecified “discretionary bonus” to all crewmembers.
Publix will dedicate the hours of 7 to 8 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for shoppers 65 years old and over, and will open its pharmacies at 7 a.m. on those days to serve senior customers, according to company announcement. The grocer announced that on March 14 it was closing stores at 8 p.m. — two hours earlier than normal — until further notice. The retailer has applied a two-per-household limit on key items like disinfectant wipes, hand soap, bleach and tissue, according to The Orlando Sentinel. Publix also said it will discontinue store demonstrations and food sampling.
Raley’s announced March 21 that it will give all hourly team members a reward based on individual hours worked. On average, the bonus will be about $500 per employee and will be distributed April 3.
On March 16, Raley’s introduced a special program for seniors and other at-risk customers that have been quarantined. The retailer will sell these individuals a prepackaged bag of fresh products and pantry items for $20 that can be picked up by a family member, friend or caregiver. It has also implemented a two-item limit on a number of products, including milk, eggs, water, fresh packaged chicken and paper products. Effective March 18, the grocer will adjust its pickup and delivery windows to four different times a day. The company has suspended its self-serve hot food and salad bar and shifted these items to prepackaged on shelves. Read more ➔
Save A Lot
On March 15, Save-a-Lot adjusted its stores’ opening hours, depending on location, and also placed temporary limits on certain products, according to an email sent to Grocery Dive. Grocery Dive reached out for additional details.
Schnucks has changed its hours from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. with the exception of four stores in St. Louis, according to an email sent to Grocery Dive. Its Culinaria store reduced its hours to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will close on the weekends. Its other three stores closed Monday at 10 p.m. and will tentatively reopen March 19 at 6 a.m. The retailer chose to temporarily close these three stores to shift nearly 200 workers to more popular locations.
The company announced in a press release that workers that are diagnosed with coronavirus or placed under mandatory isolation, will continue to receive their average weekly Shipt earnings, including in-app tips, they earned during the four-week period prior to diagnosis or quarantine.
The delivery provider is offering no-contact deliveries or door drops-offs, in which shoppers will leave an order in a secure spot at the door.
The company announced it will hold designated shopping hours for seniors and high-risk customers between 8 and 9 a.m. Monday through Friday at all stores, including Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie, Fresco Y Mas and Harveys Supermarket. It will also open pharmacy locations at 8 a.m. each weekday. Effective March 16, the grocery chain announced reduced hours at many of its chains including Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie and Harveys. All locations will close at 9 p.m. until further notice. Its stores will also no longer operate self-serve deli bars, but will have prepackaged deli available for purchase. Bi-Lo noted its delivery delivery services includes a “drop and leave” program to avoid personal contact.
SpartanNash and its banner stores will set aside shopping time for people who are elderly, pregnant or immunocompromised. the retailer announced March 18. The reserved hours are 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. In addition, its 24-hour stores will now operate from 6 a.m. to midnight, except for its Metro Family Fare location in Wyoming, Michigan. All stores have shut down sampling, cafe areas and self-serve stations, although prepackaged items are still available. The retailer has extended the hours of its Fast Lane pickup and delivery to 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is enforcing a limit on the number of cold, flu and sanitary products that can be purchased by each shopper.
Stop & Shop
In addition to reducing its store hours to 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Stop & Shop will hold special early-morning shopping hours for customers ages 60 and over. Senior shoppers will have access to the store from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. The retailer also offers a contact-free delivery option, where drivers can drop off groceries at the customer’s door or building entry. Other changes include the retailer suspending all food sampling programs and limiting popular items like hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, paper towels, toilet tissue and bleach to five per customer. Read more ➔
The company is making backup care available for all U.S. team members by waiving eligibility requirements, copays and other program details to help with caregiving needs of families. It is also waiving the company’s absenteeism policy and covering up to 14 days of quarantine and illness pay for team members with a confirmed case of COVID-19, as well as continuing to offer standing benefits like paid family leave and free counseling services.
Beginning March 18, Target is adjusting its store hours to close at 9 p.m. each day. The first hour of opening on Wednesdays will be reserved for shoppers that are elderly and have underlying health conditions, the retailer announced in a press release. Checkout lanes and touch screens will be cleaned every 30 minutes, and samples will no longer be distributed. The retailer will also add help to support its Order Pickup and Drive Up service to promote digital shopping and will limit the number of hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes and hand and face wipe purchases to six per guest. In addition, it’s closing all Target Cafés, Pizza Huts, Snack Bars, Beverage Bars, Starbucks seating areas and condiment stations in stores. Read more ➔
The Fresh Market
The grocer announced Tuesday that it will implement designated shopper hours for seniors and other individuals at high risk for contracting the coronavirus. These hours are between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., Monday through Friday. All sampling has temporarily stopped.
The Giant Company
Beginning March 19, all Giant’s locations will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to the company website. To support those ages 60 and over, all Giant, Martin’s and Giant Heirloom Markets will reserve the first hour of business to seniors. The retailer is placing a limit of two on key categories in its store, including paper goods and disinfected products.
Trader Joe’s is reimbursing sick workers for their time off. The company sent out an internal memo encouraging employees that aren’t feeling well to stay home until they are symptom-free for at least 24 hours. The policy is in place through April 15. Read more ➔
Trader Joe’s stores will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. beginning March 16, the company noted in a release. The retailer has also stopped serving samples at its demo stations.
As of March 19, wholesaler UNFI will begin giving full-time and part-time labor associates and drivers a Temporary State of Emergency Bonus of $2 per hour in addition to their hourly and overtime pay until March 31. The company will also provide employees diagnosed with COVID-19 14 additional days of paid sick leave, as well as if a facility is closed.
The retailer will waive its attendance occurrence policy through the end of April if an associate doesn’t feel comfortable coming to work. If a worker is diagnosed with COVID-19 or has been quarantined, Walmart will provide the employee with two weeks of pay. After two weeks, additional pay replacement can be provided for up to 26 weeks for both full-time and part-time workers. On March 18, the retailer announced plans to pay its U.S. hourly employees special cash bonuses. The bonus will be $300 for full-time workers and $150 for part-time employees. It will also accelerate its next scheduled quarterly bonus a month early so associates get more cash in hand. Read more ➔
Walmart’s U.S. stores have adjusted their hours to 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m, with stores that open after 7 a.m. maintaining their regular start time, the retailers announced on its site. Walmart has shut down its auto care centers and shifted those employees to store cleaning and stocking. The company has also placed limits on certain essential items, like milk, eggs, baby food, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizers. From March 24 through April 28, Walmart customers 60 and older will have exclusive access to stores every Tuesday one hour before opening. The retailer’s pharmacies and vision centers will also be open during that time. Walmart also plans to add 150,000 store associates. The roles will be temporary, but could eventually become permanent.
Wegmans has temporarily changed its store hours to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The retailer has closed all of its in-store Pub restaurants and Market Cafe seating areas, discontinued catering temporarily and is offering limited selections at its self-service food bars. The grocer has restricted the use of reusable cups to the self-serve coffee bar and increased signage to provide reusable bag cleaning instructions. The grocer also implemented a two-item purchase limit on many products including over the counter medications, sanitizers, cleaning supplies, paper products, meats, produce, packaged entrees, canned food and pasta. Read more ➔
All stores will adjust hours to 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Weis has also temporarily shut down its Weis 2 Go pickup and delivery service due to high demand, a company spokesperson told Penn Live, though shoppers can continue getting orders filled through Shipt.
Whole Foods announced it will close stores two hours early, but will remain open for pickup orders and to fulfill Prime delivery orders in stores that offer the services. All stores will reserve the first hour of operations to service shoppers 60 and older. It will also temporarily shut down all food bars and self-serve stations. All in-store restaurants will offer takeout service only, and indoor and outdoor seating will be closed.
Source: Grocery Dive