Posted on: April 8, 2020 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Natalie Zalewski, JRN 111 Student

Dealing with crazy mobs of people, setting up barriers between customers and staff, and limiting toilet paper purchases: all this and more, only at your local grocery store.

As schools, restaurants and businesses are shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak,  grocery store workers are now put on the front lines and taking extra measures in order to serve customers in a safe and efficient manner.

“We’ve added plexi-glass in front of all registers,” said Megan Cramer, Jewel cashier and Moraine Valley student. “We also have a supply of latex gloves for staff, and we have hand sanitizers and disinfecting spray for all registers whenever needed.”

Photo by Natalie Zalewski
Grocery stores have installed plexiglass barriers for safety.

As of March 24, the Plexiglass sneeze guards are being put in place at all registers, service desks, pharmacy check stands and Starbucks terminals, according to NBC5 Chicago.

In terms of routine adjustments, there has not been a drastic change in normal operations.

 “Our routine at work really hasn’t changed, our main goal is to get the customer in and out as fast as possible,” said Grace Kopp, another Jewel cashier and Moraine student. “We do have a lot of employees who are young and their parents did not want them working, so we have had to learn how to handle crazy mobs of people with only four registers open.”

Workers have also placed limitations on specific items in order to avoid empty shelves. “We’ve limited the number of paper products such as paper towel and toilet paper, and also our napkins and soaps,” Cramer said. “We do have customers who are rude when we tell them we have a limit on certain things, and they don’t realize that we are trying to do the best we can to help them out.”

Photo by Natalie Zalewski Grocery stores like Jewel take measures to ensure social distancing.

As these hectic times can become stressful and potentially risky for these essential workers, they are compensated with a few extra benefits.

“Every person is given an appreciation pay of $2 per hour extra,” Kopp said. “Also, if you or a family member is tested positive for COVID-19, you need to turn in a doctor’s note and you get paid for 2 weeks being out.”

When it comes to the idea of coming into work overall, Kopp is concerned about the health risks involved with remaining one of the only businesses open. “Of course I am there to help my job, and yes, I am considered essential to my job, but there is still that chance of putting yourself at risk.”

Cramer, on the other hand, is more than glad to be lending a hand.

“Of course I’m happy to be working! It was crazy at the beginning of this outbreak, but we’ve managed to keep up with everything and it seems to be back to normal.”

Natalie Zalewski can be reached at