H-E-B, Other Grocers Rush to Distance Shoppers

Gina Acosta
a woman smiling for the camera
H-E-B, Other Grocers Rush to Distance Shoppers
H-E-B has been appealing to shoppers to bring only one family member to stores

H-E-B and other grocery stores across the United States are moving quickly to socially distance shoppers and limit store capacity amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Scott McClelland, president of the Texas grocer, appeared on local Houston TV stations this week, asking consumers to assign only one member of the family to grocery shopping.

“If you come to the store, don’t come with your entire family,” McClelland requested. "I was in the store yesterday, and because people are bored they’re like, “Hey, let’s all go to the grocery store.' So, a family of six showed up. Send one person; that way you lessen the ability for the virus to spread.”

San Antonio-based H-E-B has also put in place strict protocols, including social distancing and sanitation rules, to keep employees and customers safe.

Meanwhile in Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont ordered grocery stores to cut their shopper capacity to 50%. Similar to H-E-B's McClelland, Lamont said that customers should have just one person per family do the shopping.

“I just did another order, executive order, this one, we just reminded people at grocery stores that we’re not going to allow more than 50% of capacities,” Lamont said. “If your grocery store has maybe capacity stipulated for 100 or 150, can’t have more than 50 or 75 in there.”

In addition to stationing staff at entrances and exits to ensure stores remain at half capacity, Connecticut food retailers are also being asked to take every other register line out of service to create more space between people at checkout.

Meanwhile, the state of Vermont has directed big-box stores such as Walmart and Target to cease selling what it deems "nonessential" items in person to decrease traffic in such stores.

Stores are also being asked to convert aisles to one-way traffic patterns where possible to eliminate people coming within 6 feet of each other as they pass each other heading in opposite directions.

Other grocers rushing to keep shoppers further apart include Costco, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods Market and ShopRite. 

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