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New grocery shopping policies and safety measures take effect

Grocery stores are working to stock the shelves at the same time as they are working to clean and keep us safe.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — As the Coronavirus outbreak changes our lives temporarily, we all have to adapt. Adapt to new situations, rules, and policies designed to keep us safe. That includes while we shop for groceries.

The Connecticut Grocery Association says there is an unimagined demand for food supplies. Grocery stores are working to stock the shelves at the same time as they are working to clean and keep us safe.

A routine trip to the grocery store isn’t so routine anymore. “There’s some hoarding going on in some instances,” said Wayne Pesce of the Connecticut Food Association. “We’re trying to control that and make sure that everybody can get milk and everybody can get bread and everybody can get canned goods so there are limits in place in all stores throughout the state.”

Wayne Pesce of the Connecticut Food Association is preaching patience and kindness. “We are resupplying the stores. This is not a good supply issue. We were asking folks to stay calm and respect the associates who are in the store,” said Pesce.

The Connecticut Food Association wants to communicate to you new rules to keep you and employees safe while shopping. You’ll likely see plexiglass barriers installed at the registers and deli. “They are called sneeze guards,” said Pesce. “Two of the most vulnerable places in the store are at the deli counter where people rent to congregate and at the front end of the stores where they pay and check out.”

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There will be tape on the floor to remind you to stand 6 feet or at least a shopping cart distance away from someone else. Signs are posted to remind you of social distance. And don’t bring your whole family on a shopping trip. Try to go alone. Or take advantage of grocery delivery. “We’ve seen a real rise in online ordering and delivery so that’s another option for customers,” said Pesce.

Among the other rules and changes.

-Cafes and seating areas are closed

-When possible, only every other register will be open

-If you use reusable bags, wash them after each use. And you’ll be required to bag your own groceries

-Associates will wipe down shopping cart handles as much as possible

-Most retailers are offering Golden shopping hours for seniors only. With 4 stores, Big Y, Stop & Shop, Geisslers and Adams Hometown Markets offering that 7 days a week

Pesce sent a letter to all legislators asking them to use the power of their platforms to provide people consistent messaging on social distancing. Sen. Alex Kasser got the message and posted an infographic on her Facebook page. State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff says he agrees Thad legislators need to help provide consistent messaging. “We need people to do their part. The only way to flatten the curve is not for 80% compliance but for 100% compliance,” said Duff. “I have consistently said to people on my social media pages to not panic purchase, to make sure that they are being safe and practicing social distancing.”

And just know, that while we are not at this point, there is a contingency plan being talked about to have the national guard drive food delivery trucks if too many drivers become ill.