We have a problem in aisle 5

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Manage episode 258706119 series 2148667
By CommonWealth Magazine and CommonWealth magazine. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT IT’S LIKE these days to be inside a supermarket, but few people know what it’s like to be in the shoes of the essential workers who keep those stores running. On the Codcast, Boston-based Stop and Shop employee Jose Lopes and Whole Foods worker Dan offered their assessment of the risks they face these days working at grocery stores during the coronavirus pandemic. (Dan has asked that his last name not be used.) Lopes unloads groceries from trucks, and spends the second part of his shift on the floor. “It’s extremely hectic. I wouldn’t imagine in the 38 years I’ve worked at Stop and Shop that I’d be seeing this,” he said. Stop and Shop has provided its workers with gloves and a N95 mask, which must be reused several times since they are in short supply. Lopes said he’s concerned about wearing the mask so many times when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends only wearing it once. “I go in with the mask and gloves. I try not to take them off, to take a break, or eat anything,” he said. “Keep the mask on until you go home.” Dan, a shelf stocker, said it’s almost impossible to not come in contact with customers who pass by in aisles and come up close to workers to ask questions. Whole Foods has tape on the floor spacing people out, but besides the six-foot distance from whomever is checking out at the cash register, customers don’t always respect that spacing. Lopes said the new rule allowing in only customers equal to 40 percent of the capacity of the store at a time is “not enough.” The two employees also have concerns about how their stores handle situations when workers test positive. “We’re calling for stores to be shut down until they’re safe for employees and customers to come back and reopen,” Dan said.

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