Safeway, Albertsons adding social distancing floor decals to combat coronavirus

Grocery chains Safeway and Albertsons are putting markers on the floors of their stores to physically remind shoppers of the 6-foot distance they should keep away from one another to adhere to social distancing guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of the new coronavirus.

In Colorado stores including the Safeway at 9229 Lincoln Ave. in Lone Tree, tape markers were put down Tuesday morning. More permanent decals are expected to replace them soon. The social distancing markers are being put at designated waiting points throughout the store, especially in busy areas including check stands, deli counters, bakeries and pharmacies, according to a news release. The grocery chains are also asking customers not to put their groceries on the checkout counter until the customer in front of them has collected their bags.

Albertsons Cos., which operates 100 Albertsons and Safeway stores in Colorado, has more than 2,200 grocery stores nationwide, is also installing plexiglass sneeze guards at all of its checkout counters over the next two weeks, company officials announced.

The company’s expanded efforts are aimed at protecting shoppers and employees as the number of confirmed cases of the respiratory infection COVID-19 continues to climb around the globe. As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 720 confirmed cases of the disease in Colorado. Nine people have died.

Albertsons Cos. has been proactive in changing policies around the crisis. Last week, it joined several other grocers in reserving shopping time for shoppers most at-risk from the virus, including seniors, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems. At Safeway stores, those reserved times are from 7- 9 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday.