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Get used to seeing plexiglass at checkout: Walmart, Winn-Dixie and others to add barriers

The new sneeze-guards will help shoppers and employees keep the appropriate distance from one another while interacting.
Winn-Dixie parent company Southeastern Grocers is in the process of installing sneeze-guards across all of its locations. [Southeastern Grocers]

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Plexiglass barriers at the checkout counter are about to become the norm, as several major retailers operating through the coronavirus pandemic have announced installation plans.

Earlier this week, Publix, Stop & Shop and Kroger announced they would all be installing the see-through barriers to protect employees from the spread of disease. The barriers also ensure customers and cashiers stay the recommended distance apart to lessen the spread of the virus, which can be asymptomatic.

Walmart, which also owns Sam’s Club, says its plexiglass “sneeze-guards” will be installed over the next two to three weeks at all of its locations. Publix has announced a similar timeline for its 1,200 stores. Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers, which owns Winn-Dixie and Fresco y Más, is also adding the barriers across its stores and plans to have installations complete by April 3.

“It is humbling to see the display of teamwork and dedication demonstrated by our store associates as they serve our customers with extraordinary kindness in this time of great need," Southeastern Grocers CEO Anthony Hucker said in a statement. “It is imperative that we implement additional safety measures to help shield our associates and customers with protective partitions, social distancing and occupancy regulations to protect them and their loved ones during this time of uncertainty."

ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wrote in an email to customers it was manufacturing several hundreds of its own partitions to install over the next few days.

“We’ll have temporary markers on the floor every six feet near the checkout line to remind you,” ABC told its customers in the email. “If it ever gets busy to the point when social distancing is not possible, you will be asked to wait in line outside for a couple of minutes until more space is created.”

Walmart and Target also are adding floor decals so customers know exactly where to stand to adhere to distance rule while in line.

Several retailers also are asking customers with reusable bags to bag their own groceries.

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