As supermarkets take more steps to keep shoppers safe, employees feel overlooked

Grocery store workers protest working conditions amid COVID-19 outbreak

BOSTON — Starting Tuesday at Stop & Shop locations, the aisles will be one-way.

Grocery stores have been continuously implementing and adjusting social distancing policies to help shoppers and workers stay safe. And the newest one will move shoppers through the store on a specified path.

Once shoppers grab their carts, they’re going to follow the arrows on the floor.

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Stores are converting aisles into one-way traffic patterns to prevent people from coming within six feet of each other as they pass each other heading in opposite directions.

This is just the latest in the long list of changes grocery stores have been making within the last few weeks to keep shoppers safe. But grocery store workers are growing more concerned about their health.

At least four grocery store employees across the country have died of COVID-19 this week. On Tuesday, Market Basket announced an employee in Salem, Mass. died from the virus.

Grocery workers in South Boston are holding a rally Tuesday, demanding:

  • They be provided with personal protective equipment while working, and that includes wearing masks and gloves
  • If needed, they are asking for fully paid family leave and sick leave
  • And they are requesting time and half hazard pay as they work through the rest of this crisis

That rally started at 11 a.m. Tuesday morning at the Whole Foods in the South End.

Grocery workers from Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Stop & Shop and Shaw’s lined the parking lot and sidewalk and, of course, standing six feet apart.

Market Basket says they are implementing a heightened disinfection program and Whole Foods says they provide their team members with PPEs including gloves and masks.

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