WASHINGTON — As the new coronavirus rapidly changes normal routines for Americans across the country, grocery stores are taking on a daily situation that many may have never seen before.
President Donald Trump stressed again Monday that supermarkets around the country will stay open and work to meet the peak demand during this pandemic.
"We are confident that supply will continue to meet demand nationwide. These beacons of our community will remain open for you, no matter what. We are working hard to remove any barriers to that effort," the president tweeted.
The president's comments come one day after he spoke with executives from several grocery store chains and companies involved in the overall supply chain.
During Sunday's White House coronavirus task force briefing, Trump explained that Whole Foods, Target, Hyvee, General Mills, Cisco, Costco, Publix, Tyson Foods, Cargill, Kroger, Walmart, Dollar General and Albertsons were all involved in a call earlier in the day and are working around the clock keeping their stores stocked.
"All of them are working hand-in-hand with the federal government, as well as state and local leaders, to ensure that food and essentials are constantly available and they'll do it," the president said Sunday.
As waves of shoppers converge on stores to stock up, those brick and mortar supermarkets are having to make moves to boost sanitation and also maintain inventory.
Here is what some companies are doing to make sure they can stay open throughout this situation:
Walmart plans to limit hours for some stores
Walmart announced over the weekend that it would be cutting hours at its stores that are normally open 24 hours a day, to ensure workers have enough time to stock shelves with the most in-demand items and clean stores.
IKEA shuttering US stores for the time being amid virus outbreak
IKEA announced Wednesday it will temporarily close US stores to the public starting March 18. Shoppers will still be able to order via IKEA-USA.com. In a statement on the company's website the retailer writes, "unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. This is the most responsible way IKEA can continue to care for our co-workers and our customers."
IKEA employs at least 18,000 people and while the company wasn't specific about pay during store closures it writes, "IKEA will continue to support co-workers through its comprehensive benefits package and paid leave policy."
Target commits to additional cleaning, reduces hours
In a statement, Target CEO Brian Cornell said its the company's intention to keep its 1,800+ stores across the country open. He added that they're making sure "guest-facing surfaces like checklanes and touchscreens are cleaned at least every 30 minutes."
Target announced Tuesday that beginning "March 18, all Target stores will close by 9 p.m. local time daily, which will provide the team additional time for cleaning and restocking each day."
The statement said Target has also placed limits on products like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, disinfectant wipes, bottled water and more. The company is also encouraging customers to use their drive-up and pickup style services at stores.
Whole Foods making in-store changes
The grocery chain, owned by Amazon, says, "Along with increased sanitation measures taking place on our food bars, we have a plan in place to modify operations as needed to ensure safety and to keep serving our customers the high quality offerings they expect. This includes modified menus, hours of operation and additional deep cleanings throughout the day." The statement didn't go into further detail about hours of operation for stores.
Kroger changing hours at some stores
Kroger shared a video message on Monday from CEO Rodney McMullen that noted they've adjusted store hours in many locations to give workers time to rest up, clean and get new products in and on the shelves for customers.
McMullen noted they are replenishing stores daily and the company's supply chain is working tirelessly around the clock to ensure that happens.
"We ask a few things of our customers. Be patient, be kind to one another, be kind to our associates, shop responsibly and purchase what you need, knowing that we will continue to replenish. Know that we will be here for you and we are working incredibly hard for you," McMullen said.
Wegmans temporarily changing some hours of operation
The grocery store chain is modifying store hours to clean and restock products.
As of Monday afternoon, all New York State stores (excluding Brooklyn) and Erie, Pennsylvania will be open from 6 a.m. until 12 a.m. Stores in New England, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania (Excluding Erie) and North Carolina stores will be open from 6 a.m. –11 p.m. and Maryland stores will be open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. The store also posted a list of items it is limiting the purchase of saying in a statement on their website, "We recognize you may not find everything you expect at the moment and we appreciate your understanding. If we can all please consider prioritizing our most immediate needs, it will allow us to best serve the needs of our entire community."
The restricted items include baby wipes and diapers, bread and rolls, eggs or milk, boxed cereal, canned and packaged fruit and canned meat and beans.
Walgreens waives delivery fees
Walgreens is waiving delivery fees for all eligible prescriptions and offering free delivery on any purchase on Walgreens.com.
It has also joined other companies in pledging to dedicate space in select store parking lots for COVID-19 testing to be set up.
Trader Joe's limits hours
On Saturday, Trader Joe's announced that all of its stores will only be open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., until further notice, to "support our Crew Members in taking care of one another and our customers."
ALDI hours changing
As of Monday, ALDI said all of its stores will open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The company noted that some may have limited hours to accommodate restocking and cleaning.