The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our lives and routines. A trip to the neighborhood grocery or drug store, previously a routine errand, has become a stressful and sometimes hazardous task. Not just for shoppers, but for those who work in those stores, too.
Our members serve panicked shoppers who are trying to buy what they need to keep themselves and their families fed. As frustrating as it is for shoppers when they see bare shelves, it’s equally frustrating for workers who are trying to keep them stocked.
To make matters worse, many workers have had to endure these stressful conditions without essential protective gear like masks or gloves, while also having to be in close proximity to co-workers and shoppers.
In recent weeks, our Union has addressed the growing need to protect workers by encouraging them to wear bandannas and other face coverings to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. While these coverings aren’t a fail-proof method to avoid contracting the virus, they help lower the probability of contagion.
In addition to protective Secretary-Treasurer’s Report gear, we need to do more to help workers stay safe so they can do their jobs.
This is why our Union has launched “Be a Good Citizen Shopper,” a campaign to encourage customers to follow science-based protocols to protect themselves and grocery workers.
It includes these tips:
1. Stay Safe. When shopping, be sure to wear a mask and gloves at all times. If you’re showing symptoms, please don’t shop. Minimize frequency of shopping trips.
2. Social Distancing. The CDC recommends at least six feet, about the length of two shopping carts.
3. Limit Contact.Do your best not to touch surfaces; use wipes to disinfect touch points and use store-provided bags instead of reuseable bags.
4. Use credit cards. They’re cleaner than cash. Also, wipe down your card and/or phone after your shopping trip.
Although it seems there is no end in sight to the pandemic, we know this too shall pass and we shall overcome.
The silver lining has been an outpouring of gratitude to our members from our communities and elected officials. What we’ve known all along is now recognized by the public: grocery and drug store workers are the lifeblood of our communities.
Let’s do ourselves a favor. Spread the word among your friends and on social media about “Being a Good Citizen Shopper” today!