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Grocery shopping levels still increasing but not at frenzied levels

Traffic and basket size at local supermarkets shifted from record- breaking to more modest jumps last week, allowing the stores to replenish shelves with basics and items for Easter and Passover meals. “The speed at which this occurred went from zero to 400 in four days,” Curt Funk, senior vice president of merchandising for Lunds & Byerlys, said of the buying sprees in the past month. “We plan for many months for the Christmas surge, and this was worse, but sales are starting to level off now.” Cub, Lunds & Byerlys and Kowalski’s stores are now seeing sales up 20% over normal levels compared with 200% increases earlier in March.

Safety Advice If You Must Visit the Grocery Store

With communities across the country virtually shut down, there is still one place nearly everyone needs to visit at some point: the grocery store. Experts say deliveries are safer, but sometimes it can be hard to get one scheduled right away. So if you must go to the store, what’s the best way to navigate the aisles and crowds? Information and guidance about the virus is changing quickly, so we asked the experts.

Should grocery stores go dark?

Mike Houston tried plexiglass barriers. He tried limiting the number of people coming into his store and reminding shoppers to maintain a six-foot distance from one another as well as employees. He ripped out all the endcaps and displays inside the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op in Maryland, where he works as general manager, in order to open up more space. But the 4,500-square-foot store, which was ringing up more than 900 customers a day beginning in late February, still did not feel like a safe environment. So a week and a half ago, Houston and his management team decided to do what was once unthinkable. They closed the store.

Grocery and restaurant brands forge partnerships amid widespread foodservice layoffs

Even before the novel coronavirus became a worldwide pandemic, one of the first industries to feel the panic was the grocery sector. From Costco to Kroger, panicked shoppers flooded grocery aisles in early March to load up on everything from toilet paper to eggs. Grocery workers have been working the frontlines, keeping shelves stocked 24/7 ever since. For restaurant employees, it’s been a much starker contrast. As the spread of the highly contagious virus worked its way across the United States, jurisdictions from coast-to-coast began ordering residents to shelter at home. With dine-in operations coming to an immediate halt in mid-March, thousands of servers, managers and cooks were furloughed. The full-service industry has been among the hardest hit.

Are Grocery Employees Emergency Workers?

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, three states have classified grocery workers as members of the essential workforce. As such, supermarket employees in Minnesota, Michigan and Vermont will have access to child care in a similar way to health care workers.
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