Polis Urges Grocery Chains To Step Up Safety Measures

Coronavirus Shoppers Load Up With Toilet Paper At King Soopers
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Shoppers load up with toilet paper at a King Soopers supermarket on Quebec Street in Denver Tuesday, March 17, 2020, during the coronavirus outbreak.

During this time of social distancing and self-isolation, grocery store employees are still facing the brunt of contact with the public.

In an effort to better protect them and customers, the governor encouraged Albertsons Companies and The Kroger Co. to adopt new safety protocols.

In a letter, Gov. Jared Polis noted that both companies have already been working to protect customers and employees. 

“I want to thank you, as a business leader in Colorado, for your efforts to date working in partnership with our state, your employees, and your customers to better protect our public health and food security during this extraordinarily challenging period,” the letter said.

The proposals include providing protective equipment such as gloves and masks to grocery store workers, expanding delivery services, providing daily shopping times for higher-risk people and implementing 6-foot spaced stickers in check-out lines to keep customers at a safe distance from one another. 

Kim Cordova, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 union, made the suggestions to Polis. Cordova requested that the governor make them into emergency rules, which Polis said in the letter he is considering. 

Some shoppers are already getting groceries delivered.

“I don’t understand why people are even going to the grocery store when delivery is available,” said Ari Armstong of Westminster. “I got my groceries delivered by Costco on Sunday.” 

Armstong said he drove by a neighborhood Safeway, and it was as busy as a pre-COVID-19 day. He thinks the recommendations by Polis make sense for grocery stores, but wonders why go if you can have them delivered.

Some customers have already seen these measures in place in grocery stores. 

Polis asked that both companies respond to the letter with an inventory of which suggestions they plan to enact and what other measures they’re considering.