virus JA grocery stores

Arrows on the floor mark the direction of travel Tuesday, April 7, 2020, in the new one-way aisles inside the County Market at Springfield Avenue and Fourth Street in Campustown.

Listen to this article

Q: What steps are grocery stores taking to maintain social distance?

A: Grocery stores have taken a number of steps to keep employees and customers safe, with some announcing new measures last week to limit the number of shoppers in each store.

On Wednesday, Aldi said its stores would be limiting the number of customers to about five per 1,000 square feet, with an employee stationed outside cleaning carts and keeping track of how many customers are in the store.

“We may enforce a brief delay between customers to allow for adequate space between customers as they enter,” the company said. “If a line forms outside our store, we kindly ask our customers to stand at least six feet away from the person in front of them and maintain that safe distance throughout their entire shopping experience.”

And like Aldi, Schnucks announced April 4 that it was asking customers to have only one shopper per household when possible.

“While it is our hope that customers will understand and abide by this policy, we also recognize that there are situations where it is simply not possible,” the company said. “Our store teams are being asked to exercise judgment in these situations, in order to ensure that all of our customers are able to complete their shopping trip, while also balancing that with the need to ensure that we are doing all that we can to increase the practice of safe social distancing.”

These steps were on top of many others that have already been taken.

Several stores announced they would no longer accept outside re-usable bags, and most stores now have barriers between the cashier and the customer, as well as tape on the floor to encourage shoppers to maintain social distance and keep them moving in the same direction.

At the County Market in Campustown, signs outside the store try to direct customers to enter from one side of the automatic doors and exit from the other.