COVID-19 continues to prompt grocery stores to change the way they operate to protect customers and their employees.
The latest new measure being taken by a major grocery store chain in Canada is a temperature check service. T&T Supermarket says it will begin this service starting on Monday, April 20, with an employee checking the temperatures of people entering through the entrance.
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The optional temperature checks are non-invasive, as employees will be using an infrared monitoring device that does not require any physical contact with the forehead.
The company began performing voluntary temperature checks for customers at its Surrey Central store on April 9.
Fever is one of the key symptoms of the coronavirus, along with tiredness and dry cough. Some infected people may also experience aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, and diarrhoea.
But it is important to note that many individuals with the coronavirus are asymptomatic. Even without symptoms, they can still easily infect others.
Nevertheless, temperature checks are increasingly an additional tool for grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses that have remained open during the period of public health measures.
In the United States, KFC and Taco Bell are performing temperature checks on their employees before the start of every shift. A similar practice is planned for New York Police Department, which has been greatly affected by COVID-19, with thousands of positive cases amongst its ranks and over two dozen deaths. And Amazon is using thermal cameras to increase worker protections following earlier criticism that it was not doing enough.
Following China, temperature checks of customers and employees are suggested as one of the measures for reopening segments of the economy in California.
Loblaws, the parent company of T&T Supermarket, does not have any formal policy for temperature check measures at any of its other chains.
But grocery stores with instances of an employee testing positive for the coronavirus have had to undergo costly prolonged shutdown periods for deep sanitization, with their employees sent home for self-isolation.
Similar to other grocery stores, T&T Supermarket’s other preventative measures include the installation of plexiglass at all checkout lanes, providing cashiers with protective eyewear, lineup and store entrance traffic control with physical distancing, visual markers inside the stores for physical distancing, ample health safety signage, providing masks to vendors and contractors entering stores without masks, and the suspension of helping customers pack with reusable bags.