HOUSTON – Many retailers are taking steps to insure shoppers’ safety as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
From hand wipes to masks, here are some of the measures some of the state’s biggest chains are taking to stop the spread of the deadly virus that has already claimed the lives of more than 200 Texans.
Target: The retailer has instituted social distancing and safety measures, including providing non-surgical face masks and gloves for team members to wear on the job, and monitoring -- and metering “when necessary” the number of people inside stores nationwide. More information here.
Walmart: The mega retailer says it is working hard to keep stores stocked and sanitized.
Its website reads, “We’re dedicating associates in every store to clean high-traffic, high-touch areas, like checkouts and shopping carts, every day. We’re also installing sneeze guards in our pharmacy and register lanes, and floor decals at both the entrances and checkouts, to help you maintain proper social distancing. Additionally, we’re using a single, clearly designated entrance and another clearly designated exit at each store to help maintain social distancing and lessen the instances of people closely passing each other. We’re also limiting the number of people in a store at once to allow no more than five customers for each 1,000 square feet at a given time, roughly 20 percent of a store’s capacity.”
Buc-ees: They’ve always hired staff to specifically perform cleanliness duties which include polishing and sanitizing the pumps. With the coronavirus pandemic, Buc-ees has added more shifts, so there are more employees available to clean the gas pumps and credit card readers at a higher frequency.
Shipley Do-Nuts: The doughnut maker says it is taking extra steps to clean and sanitize all areas, as well as providing drive-thru and take-out/to-go services.
In a comprehensive letter, Whataburger’s president outlined these cleaning measures.
- We are in daily communication with the CDC, working closely with our restaurants, vendors, and partners. We are increasing the frequency of our longstanding sanitation procedures noted:
- Each of our Family Members takes a comprehensive food handling and safety course with a focus on Family Members health and hygiene.
- All Family Members are required to double hand wash and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, every 30 minutes at the minimum, before handling food, or after doing anything that may contaminate their hands.
- We provide single-use towels for hand drying.
- High touch-point areas including door handles, tables, chairs, booths, highchairs, drink station counter tops, and trash can flaps are disinfected with Peroxide Multi-Surface Cleaner and Disinfectant.
- Counters are washed, rinsed, and sanitized regularly.
- Restrooms are cleaned and disinfected regularly.
- Kitchen and back-of-house areas are cleaned using Quaternary Ammonium Sanitizer. It is also used for sanitizing small wares, including serving trays, coffee/tea faucets, drink machine nozzles, and diffusers.
H-E-B: The grocer outlines their changes in a handy graphic.
In addition, new guidelines for workers include measures like masks and gloves.
More coronavirus coverage
• Find cases by zip code: Harris County heat map shows coronavirus cases by ZIP code
• Answering your questions: We’ve got answers to dozens and dozens of your health and financial coronavirus questions
• Haley’s Health Inbox: KPRC 2 reporter Haley Hernandez answers questions readers are sending her every day
• Coronavirus charts: Who is getting coronavirus in the Houston area? We’ve crunched the data in these charts
• Follow the curve: This chart shows you the curve for Houston cases since March 15
• When it will peak: This is when each state is expected to peak in deaths from coronavirus
• Support Local: Find all the ways you can help local businesses in Houston
Randall’s: The grocer has changed its reusable bag policy, as well as ramped up cleaning and sanitizing in its stores. The stores also provide wipes and hand sanitizer stations.
Pappas franchise: Lots of cleaning described here.
From its website: "We take great pride in our clean and well-run restaurants, and this is now more important than ever. In addition to our daily cleaning procedures, we have increased our already-strict routines significantly. We have reviewed all our sanitation procedures and have updated them accordingly. Below are just a few of the measures we will be taking to ensure employee and guest safety:
- Adding extra requirements and increased frequency for deep cleaning
- Sanitizing all high touchpoints every 30 minutes (e.g., door handles, bathrooms, menus, check presenters, etc.)
- Reviewing and modifying all sanitation solutions as necessary
- Replacing all our straws with paper-covered straws
- Removing tables to increase distance between in-store guests
- Rolling out curbside pick up at many locations.
“We are following the CDC closely and taking their guidance on all relevant issues. Currently, they recommend regular sanitizing and hand washing as one of the most important preventative measures. As the CDC updates their recommendations, we will change our processes quickly.”
Blue Bell: "Our employees are family, and we are working hard to keep everyone healthy and safe. In addition to the company’s daily robust cleaning and sanitation programs, employee safety procedures and testing programs, Blue Bell implemented safety measures specifically to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The company is following the guidelines set forth by health officials by stressing the importance of social distancing, hand washing and how critical it is for employees to stay home if they are not feeling well. Additional steps taken include:
- Requiring temperature checks for every employee before entering the building
- Providing protective gear like masks and gloves to employees
- Installing plastic dividers to give extra protection to employees that work in close proximity of each other
- Suspending all non-essential activities including travel
- Using conference calls in lieu of face-to-face meetings
- Restricting visitor access to our facilities
- Suspending our Visitor Center operations
- Enabling some employees to work from home
- Increasing cleaning of common areas and high-touch surfaces like offices, break rooms, door handles and stair rails
- Creating AM and PM shifts in office environments
- Staggered starts by production areas, separate breakrooms and bathrooms to eliminate co-mingling
Executive management is meeting regularly to assess the situation and will be implementing additional measures as the situation evolves. We are prepared to adjust our operations and procedures to ensure the health and well-being of our employees, consumers, retail partners and the community.
We all have a responsibility and role to play in defeating this pandemic. Together we will get through this."
Shiner: The Spoetzl Brewery is shut down for now. The beer, however, is available for pick-up.
Academy: The retailer is deemed essential and the situation continues to change. Go here for the latest updates from the store CEO. The store has also limited hours and says it anticipates delays on shipping.
Landry’s: The chain says it is monitoring the situation and offered these enhanced guidelines, writing on its website, "Topmost on our minds is the safety of our employees and our customers, which is why we have taken, among other things, the following preventive measures:
- frequently sanitizing surfaces;
- reinforcing appropriate hygiene amongst our staff;
- following all guidelines recommended by the CDC;
- adhering to travel bans and prohibiting employees from returning to work;
- ascertaining that our vendors and suppliers are engaging in prudent preventive measures; and
- doing all we can to keep our employees abreast of COVID-19 developments.
Here are other Texas brands and more information on response.
Dr Pepper, Justin Boots, Pluckers, Taco Cabana, Dickies, Dave & Busters, USAA, Cici’s Pizza, Chili’s, Torchy’s Tacos, Texas Instruments, Cavender’s, P. Terry’s, Stripes, Valero, Southwest Airlines, Twin Peaks, Fuddruckers, Six Flags, Hopdoddy, Jason’s Deli, Schlitterbahn, Saint Arnold, Brookshire Brothers, and Tito’s Vodka.
What do you think about local retailers’ response to coronavirus -- do you think it is enough to ward off the spread? Let us know what you think in the comments.