Keeping employees and customers safe, and trying to make life a little easier during the Covid-19 pandemic, are priorities for grocery retailers. In the Southeast, Southeastern Grocers is expanding its safety precautions, Food Lion customers can help feed their neighbors and Publix Pharmacy is extending its hours of operation. And Georgia has issued guidelines for consumers and merchants to follow to try to minimize the spread of Covid-19.
SEG expands safety precautions; store to close Easter day
Jacksonville, Florida-based Southeastern Grocers (SEG) is expanding its safety precautions across all banners in an effort to protect associates and customers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
SEG also is hiring more than 5,000 temporary workers who have experienced restricted hours or job loss due to Covid-19.
Due to the pandemic, Bi-Lo, Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie store associates will have their temperatures checked before shifts, and they are able to wear masks and gloves while working.
SEG’s elevated safety standards include limiting the number of customers shopping at peak times and the installation of social distancing floor markers and Plexiglas partitions at all store registers, customer service desks, pharmacies and liquor store counters.
All stores continue to provide a touch-free payment option at checkouts.
SEG also will continue to offer modified store and pharmacy hours as well as designated shopping hours for high-risk customers, and extended shopping hours for first responders and health care professionals.
SEG says it will close all stores on Easter Sunday in gratitude of hardworking store associates.
The company is providing continuous appreciation for frontline associates through weekly bonuses, expediting first quarter store bonuses and offering meals for associates.
Food Lion customers can donate Shop & Earn MVP Rewards to help feed neighbors
Food Lion MVP Rewards customers can now donate their “Shop & Earn” MVP rewards to help feed their neighbors in need. To participate, customers load their monthly Shop & Earn personalized offers to their account at the beginning of the month. After achieving earned offers throughout the month, they simply select the option on the app or the website to donate their rewards and their dollars will immediately be donated to the Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation.
Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation’s mission is to mitigate hunger in the towns and cities Food Lion serves so that no one has to choose between dinner and rent or gas and groceries.
“We’re so excited to offer our customers the opportunity to help feed their neighbors in need just by purchasing the items they love most,” said Deborah Sabo, SVP of marketing at Food Lion. “Nourishing our neighbors in the towns and cities we serve, and setting them up for success in life is deeply important to us at Food Lion. We know our customers are incredibly caring, so we wanted to offer them an opportunity to donate their Shop & Earn Rewards to those customers who may need a little help feeding their families, especially during this unprecedented time.”
This is the latest step in Salisbury, North Carolina-based Food Lion’s mission to end hunger in its 10-state footprint and address the growing food insecurity issues, especially now because of the high unemployment rate resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Food Lion already has committed to donate $3.1 million to support the towns and cities it serves during this crisis.
Shop & Earn MVP rewards are earned on top of savings customers already receive through Food Lion’s everyday low prices, coupons, MVP hot sales or other discounts. It takes only one “click” to load monthly personalized offers and begin earning rewards.
Shop & Earn works in conjunction with a customer’s MVP card, print and digital coupons and in-store sales, helping them save even more. In addition, if a customer shops online with Food Lion To-Go, they can earn rewards for all qualifying purchases, which can then be redeemed on their next in-store shopping trip or donated to help their neighbors in need.
Publix Pharmacy expands hours during pandemic
To better serve customers during the coronavirus pandemic, Publix Pharmacy is expanding hours chainwide beginning Monday, April 6. The expanded hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and normal hours on Saturday and Sunday. In-store pharmacies will continue to be open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during shopping hours for customers age 65 and over. These hours do not apply to in-hospital pharmacies.
Publix, the largest employee-owned company in the U.S. with more than 200,000 associates, currently operates 1,242 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
Georgia issues guidance for retailers, consumers amid Covid-19
Georgia Gov. Brian P. Kemp has joined the American Transaction Processors Coalition, Georgia Retail Association and Georgia Food Industry Association (GFIA) in issuing guidance regarding the use of PIN numbers and other best practices at points of purchase as Georgia continues to fight the spread of COVID-19.
- If a contactless payment option is available (e.g., Apple Pay, or tap and pay), use it.
- Clean your payment cards using soap, hand sanitizer or alcohol after each use.
- Maintain control of your card, whenever possible, rather than handing it to the merchant.
- If asked for a signature, PIN or other information at the payment terminal, use your own pen (for signing) or personal stylus (for touchscreens) if you can.
- If using home delivery services, pay in advance through a website, app or telephone.
Merchant and ATM owner tips:
- Merchants and ATM owners are encouraged to clean and disinfect terminals frequently and implement some changes to the payment process to reduce consumer interaction with equipment.
- Follow manufacturer guidelines to protect and care for payment terminals.
- Use 60 percent or higher alcohol-based hand sanitizer, card reader cleaners, alcohol-based disinfectant wipes (no bleach) or glass cleaner.
- Clean checkout and payment terminal area frequently (or after each transaction, if possible). Consider all checkout touch points (e.g., payment terminal including PIN pad, check lane counter and merchandise dividers, self-checkout lanes).
- When cleaning the terminal, do not clean the electrical connections and plugs.
- Never spray any product directly onto the terminal. Use a cloth or wipe that has been sprayed instead.
Kemp’s shelter in place order allows for the suspension of the use of PIN pads, PIN entry devices, electronic capture signature and any other credit card receipt signature requirements if it is permitted by underlying credit card agency and company agreements. Retailers should ensure EBT card users can continue to access PIN pads to enter this information during transactions.