NORFOLK, Va. — The coronavirus pandemic brought a lot of in-person shopping to a standstill in Hampton Roads and in the United States, as a whole. Stores that were allowed to stay open had to change the way they did business. The start of phased reopenings brought the lights back on at more stores, shops, and restaurants, but their way of doing business also was different.
The reality is that some of the changes are things that are with us indefinitely, if not permanently. Here are just a few of the ways shopping has changed since we started dealing with COVID-19:
No Children Allowed
It might sound harsh, but at least one company banned children who are younger than 16 from its stores. Menards is a home improvement supply business that's based in Wisconsin but has locations from Ohio to Wyoming and Minnesota to Missouri. If anyone looks younger than 16, staff members will ask them for a driver's license.
Carded at the home improvement store. Who would have thought that ever would happen?
Face Coverings Required
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended people wear face covering when they're out in public and when they can't distance themselves from others properly. (Remember. It's a recommended 6 feet, minimum.)
That may have been the recommendation, but a number of stores started requiring people to wear some sort of mask while they shopped. Those included Costco.
Keeping Your Distance
Not only did health officials recommend keeping 6 feet between yourself and other people when it came to social distancing, many businesses marked the space out and/or place reminders throughout companies' locations. Spacing decals quickly became a thing at places including Target, Harris Teeter, and Moe's Southwest Grill.
Welcome to Moe's...just make sure you're 6 feet from the person in front of you!
Acrylic Shields at Cash Registers
Trader Joe’s, Home Depot, and Big Lots are just a few places that installed clear, acrylic shields between their associates and customers at their checkout lanes. If you go the self-checkout route at stores that offer it, chances are pretty good you started spotting an associate or two wiping down the area where you do you're own ringing up.
Increase in Grocery Deliveries
It was a convenient option before the coronavirus pandemic got here, but once COVID-19 started to spread, more people chose to have groceries delivered to them. In fact, MSN Money said that 51% of shoppers placed a grocery order after the pandemic started.
Oh, and 31% percent plan to do more online shopping after the situation with COVID-19 settles down.
A Stop to Self-serve Offerings
You may enjoy a good salad bar, hot bar, or olive bar, but those were closed inside businesses because of the pandemic. If you think about all those hands touching things, it makes sense. It also may mean that some places may not reopen them.