BOSTON (CBS) – Should grocery stores limit the number of customers allowed inside? That’s a question many people are asking as social distancing is becoming difficult in crowded stores.

Costco recently announced it would only allow two people per membership card inside its wholesale clubs, and Massachusetts-based Market Basket announced it would also limit the number of customers in stores.

Beginning Thursday, the store will allow a limited number of customers inside the store at one time to create more space between shoppers.

“We have been constantly refining our operations focused on the health and safety of our customers and associates,” said Operations Supervisor Joseph Schmidt.  “These changes reflect the wide range of input we have received on a daily basis – from our customers and our associates and from the governors and public health experts who describe the next several weeks as critical for the health of the residents in our region.  It is important that our customers have a pleasant, safe, and healthy experience in our stores.”

Stores will also have a single entrance and exit for customers’ use, and shoppers will be greeted by a Market Basket employee who will clean and sanitize a carriage for them.

Jennifer Ouderkirk worries that people aren’t taking the threat of COVID-19 seriously when she sees crowded aisles at the supermarket. “My anxiety goes up, you know?”

Ouderkirk, who wears a mask and gloves while shopping, says she’s been stocking up for three family members so they don’t have to make trips. “I think the less people are out the better,” she said. “Basically I’m the only one out in my family.”

Rhode Island has a strict limit on how many people can be inside stores. No more than 20 percent of the capacity. Massachusetts has not imposed a limit, but grocery stores must set aside hours for seniors and have protocols to keep shoppers at least 6 feet apart. That can be difficult in a crowded store, said Stop and Shop customer Kathy Bates. “You’re still on top of each other,” Bates said. “You try to keep your distance, but you’re still on top of each other.”




Comments (6)
  1. JoannePrendergast says:

    Company doing a wonderful job. Thank you ..
    Stay safe.

  2. john mayott says:

    Put plexi glass up at each register. Protect the poor cashiers

  3. Lori Saint says:

    They need to put up the plexiglass guards to offer some protection to their employees and also give them masks. These people are on the front lines and also helping Market Basket be a multi-million dollar company. Without these people no food for us and no money for Market Basket.

  4. Anne Marie says:

    They need to get rid of the baggers and only have a few for people who need assistance. I can not believe the set up today. Because of the spacing set up they were using the grocery cart from the person in front of you for your groceries. I had to tell them that I wanted my groceries to go back in my cart. This should be common sense.

  5. Mike says:

    They should set up certain times of the day for all, not just seniors. How about closing and go to delivery or curbside pickup, again with certain times for all.

  6. John says:

    It places more elderly folks at risk, especially when the weather is cold and damp. I guess they want increase the mortality rate from influenza amongst that age group. Just giving them 6 to 7 AM one hour…..

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