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Safeway updates social distancing rules: one-way aisle traffic, in-store customer cap and limited hours

Limited store occupancy, self-screenings for symptoms & dedicated cleaning staff are some of the new measures being implemented at DMV and Delaware Safeway stores.

WASHINGTON — Safeway's Eastern Divisions stores are implementing additional safety measures to protect customers and employees during the coronavirus pandemic. Starting immediately, all Virginia, Maryland, D.C. and Delaware stores will implement one-way aisle traffic, limited in-store customer occupancy, self-check health screenings, increased cleaning staff, new store hours and will distribute reusable masks for all store, distribution, and manufacturing associates.

The new measures are in addition to previous safety steps taken such as installing Plexiglas sneeze guards at check stands, social distancing posters and floor markers throughout the store, pausing all self-service operations (soup and salad bars, etc.) ensuring store associates wash hands at least once an hour and making cart wipes and hand sanitizer stations available. 

RELATED: DC Councilmember announces commitment to keep Ward 7 Safeway stocked during pandemic

See all of Safeway's new safety measures below: 

Enhanced social distancing through one-way traffic: Stores will place directional arrows on the floors to promote one-way foot traffic through stores, including up and down aisles. This is in addition to decals already on the floor marking off 6-foot spaces at the checkstands and other areas that can cause lines to form. 

Limited Store Occupancy: Stores will limit occupancy levels to one person per 150 square feet during normal business hours and one person per 300 square feet during special hours reserved for seniors and other vulnerable customers. Each store will utilize one front entrance/exit to ensure enforcement and a store associate will be assigned to the doors to manage traffic.

Self-check health screenings: Safeway is posting signs at entrances and in back rooms that ask everyone to perform a self-screening prior to shopping or clocking in. The signs ask associates, customers, and vendors to stay home if:

  • a member of their household has been diagnosed with or is suspected to have COVID-19, or
  • they have symptoms, including a cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, diarrhea, nausea, or chills and body aches

Dedicated cleaning staff: To maintain enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, Safeway stores have assigned associates to positions exclusively responsible for cleaning surfaces throughout the stores.

Masks for all store, distribution, and manufacturing associates: Safeway is in the process of sourcing reusable masks for all front-line associates and will distribute them as soon as they are available. As a reminder, the CDC continues to recommend social distancing of at least six feet, even while wearing masks.

New Store Hours: All Safeway Eastern Division stores (with the exception of select stores operating 24 hours/7 days a week) will now be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Safeway has already reserved every Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7-9 a.m. so senior citizens, pregnant women, and customers with compromised immune systems can avoid crowds. All Safeway pharmacies will now open at 8 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

"As we continue to serve our communities during the crisis, the health and safety of everyone who walks through our doors remains a top priority," Tom Lofland, President of Safeway’s Eastern Division, said. "We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding during this unprecedented time."

RELATED: Giant grocery store employee in Largo dies after being diagnosed with coronavirus

Following the death of an employee at the Largo store, Giant Food also announced similar social distancing policies being put into effect across all of its stores to keep customers and employees safe, while continuing to operate as an essential business during the coronavirus pandemic.  

Beginning April 9, all Giant stores will start operating at 20% overall capacity, and a store associate will be stationed at the front entrance to track shopper flow, which will now be limited to one-way aisle traffic. 

RELATED: Giant Food updates social distancing rules: One-way aisle traffic, cap on customers in stores

Check the status of the virus in your state with your state health department's websites by tapping below:

RELATED: Giant Food employee in Columbia Heights tests positive for coronavirus

RELATED: Safeway distribution center employee tests positive for COVID-19

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