Retailers, customers adjusting to 6-foot social distancing

Coronavirus

Social distancing helped by spots for customers to stand

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Retail stores that are still open are adapting quickly to the social distancing guidelines during the pandemic — and so are the customers.

At New Seasons in Southeast Portland, orange dots are on the ground spaced 6 feet apart for people to wait to get inside. Signs ask people to have only one person in their family shop and encourages them to get in and out.

Shoppers at New Seasons at 28th and Division in Portland stand on social distancing dots during the pandemic, March 23, 2020 (KOIN)

A similar plan is in place at Fred Meyer stores, where “X”s are on the floor spaced 6 feet apart at their registers in the main checkout, the deli, Starbucks, pharmacy and service desks. Staff are using social distancing with customers and are cleaning frequently touched surfaces often.

Fred Meyer officials also said their employees are permitted to wear protective masks and gloves. Their stores are also adding plexiglass partitions at many cash registers, but the installation may take several weeks.

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Cannabis dispensaries are still open and are even permitted to offer curbside delivery under a temporary rule made by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Chalice Farms, with 3 locations in Portland, offers curbside delivery, which the OLCC temporarily is allowing during the pandemic. They are also limiting the number of people allowed inside their shops. Employees even created designated spaces for people to stand in with red tape.

Chalice Farms employees put red tape on the ground in an effort to keep customers from getting too close to each other. March 23, 2020 (KOIN)

At the Beaverton Home Depot, cones are set up outside where customers can wait to go inside whiel an employee manages who goes through. A spokesperson for Home Depot also said they’re sharing overhead announcements on the PA systems to encourage customers to maintain a safe distance between one another while shopping and waiting in line.

A social distancing sign at Home Depot in Beaverton during the pandemic, March 24, 2020 (KOIN)

At the Ace Pearl Hardware in Northwest Portland, they’re only allowing 2 customers in the store at a time. Store supervisor Drew Stefani told KOIN 6 News customers go up to the register and place their order. Employees then go grab the items and ring it up.

“We’ve also been promoting phone orders so calling in your order to pick up and we can do curbside delivery, which keeps less people in the store,” Stefani said. It also “allows people to get what they need without having to get too close to anyone. And (we’re) also promoting online pickups for the store and doing a similar type of thing.”

She said business has been good.

“It’s been pretty busy. We’ve been trying to keep it so people are getting essential products only, so we’re trying to limit the miscellaneous, fun stuff people are getting and keeping it to the necessities.”

Overall customers like Teri Beatty have been appreciative and understanding that some items are just tough to find right now.

Customers practice social distancing while waiting to get inside Ace Pearl Hardware in Portland, March 24, 2020 (KOIN)

“These guys are great. They’re super-safe. They’re super-staying by the rules,” Beatty said. “It’s fine and everybody has been good.”

She admitted she’s been “pretty selective” about where she’s been going. When she went to Ace Pearl Hardware she told them what she wanted and they showed her the options for cleaning products and gloves.

“I paid. I was in ther for a minute-and-a-half,” she said.”

Stefani said the store has sold “a lot of paint, cleaning supplies. We’ve been selling a lot of soil.”

Customers not in the store form a line under an awning and wait to be called in for counter-service only.

Stefani said she hopes customers are patient. “Be kind. I know everyone is working as hard as they can to provide whatever they can to make this a little easier of a time right now.”

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