NATIONAL REPORT — As lawmakers across the country take steps to flatten the curve of COVID-19, convenience store retailers are assuring they are in this together.
"We recognize coronavirus (COVID-19) is a serious concern to our customers. As a neighborhood store and convenient delivery provider in so many communities, 7‑Eleven is monitoring the situation closely to prioritize the health of our customers, employees and franchisees across more than 9,000 U.S. stores," said 7-Eleven Inc.'s President and CEO Joe DePinto.
According to DePinto, Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven enhanced its standards and procedures for hygiene, handwashing, sanitation, food handling and preparation in stores and increased the frequency of cleaning high-touch surfaces.
In addition, the retail chain is contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and are sharing updated guidelines from the World Health Organization with its stores.
7-Eleven has also taken these additional steps:
- Reiterated to its employees and franchises the importance of staying home if they are sick.
- Displayed CDC-recommended hygiene posters in high-traffic areas in stores.
- Temporarily discontinued the use of personal cups for hot and cold dispensed beverages.
- Is working with vendors and suppliers to stock stores with high-demand, essential products and making them easy for you to find.
"In order to support the communities that we serve, we ask that you please consider shopping with us only when you are feeling well. As a convenient alternative to in-store shopping, 7‑Eleven also offers delivery to over 30 million households through the 7NOW delivery app," DePinto said. "In response to CDC recommendations and requests from customers, we will offer a contactless delivery option beginning next week."
Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz has taken several step to remain vigilant, including establishing an advisory board of senior leaders and experts in the field of sanitation and food safety. This group is regularly communicating with the chain's c-stores and evaluating the impact of COVID-19 each community where Sheetz operates, the retailer wrote in a letter its customers.
The advisory board is also working closely with local health and government officials as well as the CDC. In addition, Sheetz has established a number of preventive measures, in accordance with CDC recommendations, for both our employees and customers.
This includes enhancing its routine cleaning procedures by adding hours to its daily schedule dedicated to cleaning and sanitizing the stores. The effort is focused on high-touch surface areas such as gas pumps, touch-screen order points, counter tops, door handles, cash registers, credit machines and ATMs.
"Respect is at the core of Sheetz DNA and it is that respect for our ecosystem of employees, customers and communities that is driving our efforts during this difficult time. As you well know, Sheetz team members weather some pretty big storms, but these are unchartered waters for all of us," said President and Chief Operating Officer Travis Sheetz.
"While we are driven to remain open and available to you, we will not jeopardize anyone's health or safety in that effort and must follow the direction of local, state and federal health agencies and officials," he added. "As a last resort, some stores could close. At a minimum, you may experience staffing shortfalls, so we thank you for your support of our team members as they work tirelessly to continue to provide the [Total Customer Focus] you are accustomed to at Sheetz."
Lockport, N.Y.-based Crosby's also enacted plans to protect its customers, associates and suppliers. In addition to its emphasis on personal hygiene, Crosby's is implementing enhanced cleaning procedures, including more frequent handwashing and the proper use of hand sanitizer.
It also distributed cleaning supplies with instructions to increase the frequency of cleaning commonly touches surfaces, including bathrooms, touchscreens, door and cooler handles, dispensers, pin pads, ATMs. This is in addition to all hard surfaces, tables, chairs, food contact surfaces and even phones.
"Nothing is more important than the health of our customers and store associates. Like many of you, we have been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 (novel Coronavirus). We want you to know that we’re thinking about all of you, which includes our associates, our customers, our suppliers, and our communities," the company said in a message to its customers.
"We understand completely the role our stores play in the communities in which we serve and will do everything we can to continue our operations with minimal or no interruption for your convenience and your daily needs," it said, adding it will be providing its stores with hand sanitizer stations for customer use.
Another New York area retailer, Saratoga Springs-based Stewart's Shops also reached out to customers with a message on its website as COVID-19 was detected in its market area.
"Our first priority is keeping you, your family and all of our partners safe and healthy," the retailer said. "We will continue to safeguard our customers, shops, and partners by practicing proper sanitation and hygiene, which includes diligent hand washing for at least 20 seconds, food prep and customer area surface sanitation, and consistent restroom cleaning. We regularly sanitize pin pads, door handles, coffee pot handles and high touch areas."
Similar to other retailers, Stewart's Shops is asking customers and associates to stay home if they are sick. It is also working with its suppliers to meet the high demand for cleaning supplies and hand sanitizers.