Charlotte grocery store update: Masks, healthcare worker hours, one-way aisles, hiring

·8 min read

Grocery stores continue to update measures in stores to meet safety standards during the novel coronavirus crisis in the Charlotte area.

New this week, all retail stores including supermarkets began limiting the number of customers inside stores based on Gov. Roy Cooper’s enhanced social distancing order that went into effect April 13. Stores must limit the number of people inside to no more than 20% capacity or five people for every 1,000 square feet, and mark six feet of distance at checkout lines and counters.

Many grocery stores also are providing and encouraging workers and shoppers to wear masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending people wear face coverings in public to prevent the spread of the virus if someone is an asymptomatic carrier.

Mecklenburg County officials on Thursday said people should wear cloth face coverings when they go to grocery stores, pharmacies and other public places.

The Fresh Market, based in Greensboro, on Tuesday began requiring all guests to wear face coverings.

All other grocery stores are working to provide masks as supplies allow and encouraging employees to wear them, according to company websites.

Here’s what new NC COVID-19 restrictions mean for Charlotte grocery, retail stores

Additional safety steps

More stores have been adding contactless options. While some are adding contactless pay, Salisbury-based Food Lion has added contactless To Go delivery of groceries. Groceries are left on a doorstep or back door, for example.

Food Lion and Publix also have begun marking store aisles as one way to further encourage social distancing.

Because of the chance to spread the coronavirus, warning signs addressing social distancing hang in the aisles and directional signs on the floors ask customers to all go the same direction in Publix grocery stores around Charlotte on Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
Because of the chance to spread the coronavirus, warning signs addressing social distancing hang in the aisles and directional signs on the floors ask customers to all go the same direction in Publix grocery stores around Charlotte on Wednesday, April 8, 2020.

Several stores have adding special shopping hours for healthcare workers and first responders. Publix has dedicated two days of the week 8-9 p.m. Thursdays and 7-8 a.m. Fridays for first responders and hospital staff.

BJ’s Wholesale Clubs will start special hours for these essential workers on Sunday. First responders and healthcare workers can shop 8 a.m.-9 a.m. Sundays without a membership at that time, according to a company statement.

Southeastern Grocers, parent company of Bi-Lo and Harveys Supermarket, on Monday night paid the grocery bills for thousands of health care professionals and first responders during the companywide designated shopping hours for these coronavirus frontline workers.

Supermarket chain surprises health care workers, first responders with free groceries

Walmart has launched another option, dedicating pickup hours from 7 to 8 a.m. daily for first responders, customers age 60 and older, and people with disabilities, according to a company press release.

Harris Teeter stores’ ExpressLane Online Shopping pickup from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays is for seniors only.

Grocery stores are still hiring to meet the demands of stocking supplies, cleanings and other necessary functions as an essential business.

Walmart announced Friday it is hiring 50,000 temporary workers to “support our current associates and customers in locations with specific needs.” The retail giant already hired 150,000 employees, including 5,800 in North Carolina stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers.

Target has created a health checklist for workers. Like many stores, if an employee feels sick, has a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher or shows other common symptoms, they are told to stay home, according to the company website.

Coronavirus cases reported

Two stores reported cases of workers testing positive to having COVID-19.

A Harris Teeter employee last week at the Charlotte Arboretum location tested positive for the novel coronavirus. This week, five workers at two Harris Teeter distribution centers tested positive — three in Greensboro and two in Indian Trail.

2 workers at second Harris Teeter distribution center test positive for COVID-19

Target also reported last week that a worker at the Midtown location tested positive.

Grocery worker Jody Alexander positions and sanitizes carts at Trader Joe’s in Raleigh Tuesday, April 7, 2020. The store is limiting 40 customers in the store at once as customers are asked to adhere to social distancing standards while waiting in lines.
Grocery worker Jody Alexander positions and sanitizes carts at Trader Joe’s in Raleigh Tuesday, April 7, 2020. The store is limiting 40 customers in the store at once as customers are asked to adhere to social distancing standards while waiting in lines.

By the store

Here’s a roundup of some of the latest steps Charlotte area grocery stores have made as of April 17:

ALDI

Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Special shopping hours: Vulnerable shoppers hours are 8:30-9:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday.

Personal protective equipment: Disposable gloves and masks available to employees as supplies permit.

Temperature Checks: Any employee with a fever of 100.0 degree or higher will be sent home. Employees must be free of all symptoms for at least 72 hours before returning to work.

Hiring: corporate.aldi.us.

Other: Customers will now keep the cart they started with throughout their visit to ensure the best possible hygiene.

Bi-Lo

Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Pharmacies open at 8 a.m. on weekdays. Pharmacies open at 8 a.m.

Special shopping hour: Dedicated shopping hours 8-9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday for healthcare providers and first-responders.

Dedicated seniors and high-risk customer shopping hours, 8-9 a.m. Monday-Friday.

Personal protective equipment: Employees are allowed to wear gloves or masks.

Temperature Checks: For employees and external partners who work in stores.

Employees: Paying out unused vacation time for workers between March 11 and May 12.

Hiring: BI-LO.com/careers.

Other: Offering touch-free contactless pay.

BJ’S WHOLESALE CLUBS

Hours: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Special shopping hours: 8-9 a.m. Monday-Saturday for ages 60 and older.

Beginning April 19, 8-9 a.m. Sundays is for first responders and healthcare workers, and they do not need a membership to shop at that time.

Personal protective equipment: Masks and gloves available as supplies permit.

Temperature checks: Employee temperature checks before work shift.

Employees: BJ’s raised hourly pay $2 per hour through May 2. Bonuses and relief efforts, as well as offering emergency paid leave policy for employees who have COVID-19 related symptoms or are quarantined.

Donation: $500,000 donation by BJ’s Charitable Foundation to local hospitals; totaling $1 million to COVID-19 relief efforts.

Food Lion

Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Special shopping hour: 7-8 a.m. for customers age 60 and older or who are immuno-compromised on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Personal protective equipment: Allowing and providing workers with masks.

Hiring: In the last three weeks, Food Lion has hired about 9,000 associates across our chain to help serve our customers.. foodlion.com/careers.

Other: Contactless delivery with groceries placed on doorstep or back porch.

Fresh Market

Hours: 8 a.m.-9 p.m.

Special shopping hour: 8-9 a.m. weekdays reserved for seniors and people most at risk as identified by the CDC.

Personal protective equipment: Workers and customers required to wear face coverings.

Hiring: careers.thefreshmarket.com.

Harris Teeter

Hours: 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Pharmacies open at 7 a.m.

Special shopping hours: 6-8 a.m. Monday and Thursday for ages 60 and older. ExpressLane Online Shopping pick-up times from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for seniors only every Thursday.

Personal protective equipment: Provides and encourages workers to wear masks.

Hiring: harristeeter.com.

Other: Shoppers who choose to bring their own reusable bags will be asked to bag their purchases.

Lidl

Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Personal protective equipment: Disposable protective gloves are available. Lidl currently makes five pairs available to each employee on each shift.

Hiring: careers.lidl.com

Other: Customers can check on lidl.com and myLidl app if a product is in stock. Availability is updated every two hours.

Lowes Foods

Hours: 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

Special shopping hours: For seniors and most vulnerable are 7-8 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Hiring: lowesfoods.com.

Publix

Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Check individual store for Sunday hours. Pharmacy open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday. Check stores for weekend hours.

Special shopping hour: 8-9 p.m. Thursdays and 7-8 a.m. Fridays for first responders and hospital staff.

For people aged 65 and older, 7-8 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Pharmacy opens at 7 a.m. those days.

Personal protective equipment: Allowing workers to wear masks and gloves.

Hiring: publix.jobs

Other: Check out touch-free.

Rent relief to businesses operating in Publix-owned shopping centers that have closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All stores have a worker dedicated to sanitizing carts during store hours.

Target

Hours: 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Store opening hours may vary.

Special shopping hour: First hour of shopping Tuesday and Wednesday for elderly and people with underlying health concerns.

Personal protective equipment: Disposable face masks and gloves available and “strongly” encouraged to wear while working, including Shipt shoppers.

Trader Joe’s

Hours: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Special shopping hours: 8-9 a.m. for seniors age 60 and older and people with disabilities who may need more assistance.

Personal protection equipment: Providing and encouraging employees to wear masks and gloves.

Employees: Adding Crew Member Wellness Checks before the start of each shift.

Other: Suspending the use of reusable bags.

Walmart

Hours: 7 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

Special shopping hour: One hour before store opens for age 60 or older.

Pickup hour for people most at-risk for COVID-19 daily, 7 to 8 a.m. for age 60 and older, as well as first responders, customers with disabilities and anyone designated high-risk.

Personal protective equipment: Masks and gloves will be available to workers.

Hiring: careers.walmart.com.

Other: Rent relief for April to businesses operating in Walmart Supercenters and Sam’s Clubs closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pay pickup option available for customers who use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Whole Foods Market

Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Special shopping hour: One hour before opening for people aged 60 and older.

Personal protective equipment: Allowing workers to wear masks.

Hiring: publix.jobs

Other: Personal, reusable containers not allowed.

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