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Customers lining up outside Safeway at dawn on Sunday morning.

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If you’ve purchased toilet paper in the past week, count yourself among the lucky ones.

Across the country and here in Tillamook, shelves are stripped daily of essential hygiene and cleaning products. Many stores are limiting purchases on some of the most wanted products – toilet paper, tissues, cold and flu medicine and cleaning supplies.

At Fred Meyer, the company is adding shifts to its distribution centers, drivers and store staff. To prevent the spread of coronavirus, hourly cleaning has been implemented as well as overnight cleaning that is done while restocking. There is a round the clock cleaning mentality focused on sanitizing commonly touched surfaces.

“We are all aligned and committed to getting product to our customers as effectively as possible,” said Jeffery Temple, director of corporate affairs for Fred Meyer. “Our store associates are working with a greater sense of purpose and responsibility toward the community than ever before.”

The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation recently announced a $3 million commitment to rapidly deploy hunger-relief resources to communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fred Meyer also added $25 to every associate’s Rewards Card for them to spend as a token of gratitude for working hard and being there for customers, the community and each other.

Fred Meyer stores are currently open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., giving employees more time to restock and clean. Monday through Thursday, Fred Meyer is asking for the first hour of shopping to be reserved for seniors and those in high risk categories.

At Safeway, the company is reserving 7-9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays for vulnerable shoppers who must leave home to obtain their groceries. Safeway asks for customers help to reserve this shopping time for those most at risk in communities.

“We thank our customers in advance for their compassion and understanding toward their neighbors and friends, and in helping us maintain this temporary operations guideline,” said Nicky Nielsen, marketing promotional coordinator for Safeway.

Safeway has enhanced its cleaning and disinfecting measures in all departments, restrooms and other high-touch points of the store throughout the day, as well as a deep cleanse at the end of each business day. Protective screens went up recently in Tillamook, sort of a sneeze guard for the cashiers. Cart wipes and hand sanitizer stations are available.

The company also created “contact free” delivery procedures for its team and has changed its signature processes so delivery drivers can sign for customers when delivering orders.

“The health and well-being of our team remains our top priority. Our teams across our stores are truly the people to thank for keeping our stores operating,” Nielsen said. “Working long hours and stocking our shelves to keep up with demand, we truly cannot express enough gratitude for their dedication and commitment these last few weeks.”

As recommended by state and local health officials, Safeway encourages you to wash or sanitize your hands before entering and leaving the store as a courtesy to your neighbors.

The Northwest Grocer’s Association offers the following tips for shoppers during the coronavirus outbreak: observe social distancing the best you can with department personnel and your clerk when checking out, use self-checkout stations whenever available, ask for a cleaning or use a sanitation wipe before each use, bag your own groceries and remember to wash your reusable bags after each use.


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