The battle against Covid-19 continues across the nation, and grocery retailers are ramping up their safety efforts. In the Midwest, Hy-Vee is taking additional safety steps for employees and customers, and SpartanNash is giving their frontline employees bonus pay.
Hy-Vee installs additional protective panels, adds one-way directional aisle signage, suggests one person per cart
West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee Inc. announced April 3 additional changes to its operations to help protect its employees and customers in response to the evolving Covid-19 outbreak.
Over the upcoming days, all Hy-Vee stores will install additional temporary window panels on the back side of checkouts to help provide an additional layer of protection for both cashiers and customers. The panels are in addition to the panels already positioned on the front side of checkouts.
Over the weekend, Hy-Vee also placed new, one-way directional signage in its aisles that will be installed in all stores. The signage will direct customers to utilize aisles in a way that prevents them from passing each other, in an effort to maintain six feet of social distancing throughout the store.
Also, effective Monday, April 6, customers shopping at all Hy-Vee locations will be strongly encouraged to follow a “one person per cart” rule to avoid multiple family members from accompanying a customer on shopping visits. Hy-Vee is asking that customers try to designate one person per family to visit the store during each visit and to avoid shopping in large groups in an effort to limit the number of people in stores at any given time.
“We continue to implement additional ways to adapt at Hy-Vee, so that we can serve our customers and protect the health and wellness of those who work and shop in our stores,” said Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s chairman, CEO and president.
SpartanNash announces frontline bonus pay for all hourly frontline associates
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based SpartanNash says more than 16,000 of its part- and full-time hourly frontline associates will receive an additional $2 per hour for all hours worked between April 5 and 25. The frontline bonus pay will apply to hourly SpartanNash associates working in its 155 company-owned stores, Caito Foods facilities and 18 distribution centers.
This frontline bonus pay is in addition to an associate appreciation bonus for all hourly frontline associates, which provided each associate with an additional $25 bonus each week between March 1 and April 25. The company also has enhanced its associate discount in its company-owned retail stores to 20 percent off during the same timeframe. SpartanNash also has invested in personal protective equipment (PPE), sneeze guards, increased safety and sanitation measures and additional staffing (details outlined below).
“Our world is changing rapidly during the coronavirus pandemic, but what hasn’t changed is the unwavering commitment of our family of associates, who are on the front lines ensuring our neighbors, customers, military families and those most at risk receive the essential food, medicine and groceries they need,” said Interim President and CEO Dennis Eidson. “These financial incentives are our way of giving back to the hourly frontline associates who are giving so much during these unprecedented times.”
“At SpartanNash, our greatest asset is our family of associates, and that has never been more clear than in the past few weeks,” said EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer Yvonne Trupiano. “Both the frontline bonus pay and the associate appreciation bonus are our way of saying ‘thank you’ for all the work that has been done to date—and all the work that is yet to be done.”
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, SpartanNash has maintained two top priorities: the well-being and safety of its family of associates, customers and communities; and supporting health officials and government leaders to contain the virus.
Increased safety and sanitation efforts include:
- Installing 1,420 36-square-inch clear plexiglass sneeze guards at every cashier station, deli counter, pharmacy, coffee kiosk, customer service center and fuel center checkout. Sneeze guards also were installed in distribution center receiving areas.
All associates are able to wear gloves and facemasks. The company has purchased facemasks and gloves for all frontline associates working in its 18 distribution centers, 155 retail stores and Caito Foods facilities and expects to have the PPE available by mid-April.
- Placing signs and marking the floor at the customer service desk, delis, pharmacies, self-checkouts, regular register lanes and other locations throughout the store to remind store guests and associates to remain six feet apart whenever possible.
- Setting aside time twice per week for store guests most at risk of contracting coronavirus, including seniors, pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals. Reserved hours are every Tuesday and Thursday from 7-9 a.m.
- Offering free, same-day home delivery of prescription medications at 88 SpartanNash pharmacies in seven states.
- Increasing Fast Lane staffing levels to best accommodate the more than threefold increase in the number of customers shopping online at the company’s 68 retail stores that offer Fast Lane services and providing home delivery to 45 zip codes.
- Instructing associates to take their temperature at home before coming onsite to a SpartanNash location, as well as onsite health status screenings for all associates upon arrival.
- Suspending service at self-serve areas in all stores, including salad bars, soup bars and donut cases.
- Suspending bottle returns, discontinuing the use of reusable bags and all sales are final, due to the increased risk of cross-contamination.
- Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and protocols for safety, prevention and cleaning, including sanitizing high-touch surfaces such as food service counters, checkout lanes, conveyor belts, fuel pump handles, pin pads and touch screens at least every 30 minutes. In distribution centers, high-touch areas including time clocks, headsets and equipment controls are also sanitized at least every 30 minutes.
Additional resources to help associates include:
- Extending sick leave benefits to ensure associates who are sick or are displaying symptoms of coronavirus are able to remain off work until they are symptom-free. SpartanNash’s expanded sick time provides a maximum of 80 hours of paid leave.
- Reminders of Total Rewards benefits available to all associates, including telemedicine visits, employee assistance programs for mental and physical well-being as well as childcare assistance, and prescription drug coverage. Telemedicine visits and Covid-19 testing fees have been waived since the onset of the pandemic.
- Expanding the company’s discount and referral bonus programs to provide associates with additional ways to save money and earn financial incentives.
- Access to the company’s HR Helpline for answers to any benefits questions or other concerns.
- Recruiting and onboarding more than 1,300 new hires in the last two weeks to support current associates and provide career opportunities to displaced workers.