We live in a world that keeps changing. Because of this, many of us are getting used to a new type of normal. Sheltering in place has kept us from friends and family, all for the good of our own health. Essential workers put themselves and those they live with in the face of danger daily. As I type this article from my rural community, the coronavirus has yet to hit us. The curve starts to flatten slowly but not nearly enough before this deadly virus hits the town of Millinocket, Maine.
In the seemingly ghost town of Millinocket, things everywhere have changed to accommodate the virus. For many the biggest visual change right now is in the Hannaford grocery store. If you have not been shopping for a while, you might be surprised to see stores and the precautions they take.
When going to the Millinocket Hannaford and other essential stores during this time, customers and employees alike should be aware of these changes. When first arriving at the store you should be courteous of the set limits put into place. Millinocket’s Hannaford allows only 45 customers in the store at a time to help control confined spaces. As you walk to the sliding glass doors you may think that you want a cart. Due to lack of cleaning supplies and the importance of surfaces needing to be clean, baskets are no longer available for use.
The grocery cart will be sprayed down with germ-killing chemicals by an employee and handed directly to a customer as needed. As you enter the store, be sure to be mindful of the six-foot rule even with the employees. You might even notice red arrows on the floor. These arrows are placed to help everyone stick to a six-foot rule. It was once a better time when we could enter a store and walk wherever we wanted to whichever aisle. But it is a new world and we all must do our part to help protect one another.
“The arrows are easy to forget about right now. I was hauling a U-boat down the wrong side of the store,” Kyle Corcoran, an employee at Hannaford since 2019, said.
Once done making your way around the store, you might notice the red tape in the shape of a square by each cash register. This is there to protect customers waiting in line and endorse the six-foot rule. Sneeze shields are put up at every register. Surfaces are being wiped down repeatedly and anything that may get touched is sanitized directly after.
This is a brand-new way of shopping. It may seem inconvenient, but customers and employees are being kept safe. So, as you place your face mask on with the intention to venture out to a store, please know that safety is a main priority. Stores are providing us with a new normal.