Coronavirus impacts shopping routines for residents

Marci Ruiz, Reporter

  The new coronavirus has brought many changes to the way people now shop at grocery stores.  

  There are some stores, such as Albertson’s, that have put social distancing into full effect with measures such as putting tape on the floor for each customer to stand on for the six feet apart. Grocery stores have also put up plexiglass guards to protect the associates from customers who may not cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze. It’s not just the big stores that have this kind of barrier. Some liquor stores also have this type of barrier as well.  

  Also, there are stores like Costco that now open early specifically for the elderly, pregnant people, and the immune-vulnerable to do their shopping. Some stores have also put a limit on how many people can enter their stores, meaning that only one person can enter or one person plus someone else that is with them. Some stores seem to be busier than others. 

   Customers have adapted to this new way of shopping, and some have not adapted at all to this new experience. There are many mixed emotions regarding the new way of shopping. 

  “I don’t shop anymore. I am scared to because you never know who has the virus or not. If I need something from the store, I will send someone to go for me!” said Miranda Salazar, Porterville College student. 

   Many grocery clerks are required to wear gloves while they are working to prevent germs from spreading, but the gloves are not changed in between customers, so the germs may still be spread at the check-out counter, especially through handling paper money. 

  “If anything, I’m more aware of the social stigmas that people have brought into this pandemic. The overuse of gloves in a store when cross contamination is high,” said Andre Gomez, CSU Bakersfield student. 

  Most stores now enforce the social distancing rule, which makes it difficult for shoppers to do their shopping quickly. When a customer is at the checkout line, they have to stand six feet apart from other shoppers, and stores such as Wal-Mart, have encouraged customers to stand two cart lengths away from each other while waiting in line to make sure the six foot rule is being followed while shopping in their stores. 

  “COVID-19 had made my shopping experience more aware of how to clean the shopping carts or the hand baskets more effectively, and it makes me wonder how many people that have not washed their hands that have touched the same food and put it back because it’s not what they wanted or needed,” said David Camarena, Security Guard. 

  Along with social distancing making it difficult to shop, so have some rationing rules that the stores have enforced. For example: some grocery stores have put a limit on how many packages of toilet paper, water, bread, and other household staples any shopper can purchase at one time. There are limits on cleaning products as well, and some stores have run out of all these products, which makes it harder to shop, especially for those who need those things. 

  “It has affected my shopping experience for the fact that it is so hard to find things that I typically didn’t have a problem finding before. So many things are out of stock, people are hoarding all the food and leaving the shelves bare since, apparently, they are only thinking about themselves and being greedy. To make things worse, I can’t even find the items that I need to get for WIC, which I’m pretty sure a lot of moms are having the same problem, and having the items that they were eligible to get for the month go to waste,” said Lilianna Madrigal, mother to be. 

  Big chain grocery stores such as Walmart and Costco have put a customer capacity limit to enter their stores. Costco has a rule where only two members can shop if they have the same membership, and Walmart also has a limit of how many can enter the store to shop. Walmart will let the first 250 people in the store and any after that they have to wait in line to go in and do their shopping. After one person has checked out and physically walked out of the store, the next person can go in and do their shopping.