Graphic by: Jaxen Wyborny
Despite stay-at-home orders, essential business and activities still continue because they are excluded from any required closing. This includes shopping for groceries and getting prescription medication. However, even though these stores and pharmacies are open, shopping there just isn’t the same. Stores across the country have taken many measures to prevent contamination and infection of COVID-19. These include partitions between cashiers and customers, constant sanitizing, and only allowing a few people into stores at once.
Another measure is requiring both employees and customers to wear masks. Fort Lauderdale’s mayor, Dean Trantalis, states that these measures and regulations will limit the spread of COVID-19. Wearing masks reduces the risk of exposure and helps protect everyone who lives and works in our community (Sun-Sentinel). Freshman Diana Angel expresses, “It’s very necessary [for everyone] to wear masks whenever you leave your house. Because even if you’re in perfect health, those who surround you may not be, and not wearing your mask puts those people at risk.” If everyone participates, as opposed to just a few people, wearing masks is an extremely effective safety precaution.
Many stores are also implementing measures to enforce social distancing and minimize human contact. According to Publix.com, stores have “visual reminders of appropriate spacing at registers and provide recurring public address announcements, reminding customers and associates of social distancing.” They also have added markings on floors to enforce one-way customer traffic, allowing more distance between them and less contact. Freshman Trisha Villanueva states, “I think these efforts to prevent the spread of the virus are a good idea because it’s important to keep our distances from each other at this time.” Many other stores such as Target and Walmart have signs posted outside explaining that only a few customers are allowed in at a time and that they must take precautions such as staying 6 feet apart when checking out.
Even though your usual trip getting groceries or picking up medication may be a little different now, stores are taking these measures to protect you and their employees. Wearing face coverings and keeping space between yourself and other customers might be annoying, but the more people that adhere to these regulations, the faster they will be lifted.