Hy-Vee to install protective windows at checkouts, bans reusable bags

The Iowa-based retailer is taking the step to protect its staff from the coronavirus.
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As of Friday, Hy-Vee has taken additional steps to protect its staff and customers from the spread of coronavirus.

The Iowa-based retailer announced last week that it will no longer allow customers to bring in reusable bags until further notice due to concerns over their cleanliness.

"Because it is not always easy to know the sanitization procedures customers are taking at their homes to keep the bags clean, this is one more way the grocer is helping prevent the spread of the virus," the company said.

What's more, it's planning to install temporary protective windows at its checkouts to protect workers and customers during the payment process.

"These panels are being installed at the checkout, as this is the point in the store visit where customers and employees are in the closest contact," the grocery chain said.

"In the aisles or at our service counters, customers and employees have more flexibility in placing distance between themselves but the setup of the checkout limits that ability. These panels are in place in our Des Moines-area stores, and will be installed in all other Hy-Vee locations over the next few days."

Hy-Vee has not yet followed the example of other grocery retailers and offered a raise for its store workers. Target, Cub and Kowalski's are among the chains that announced $2-an-hour pay bumps during the COVID-19 crisis.

The decision regarding reusable bags comes after a number of cities and counties across the country have taken the step of either banning or charging for single-use plastic bags in recent years, amid ongoing concerns about waste and pollution.

Minneapolis, for example, now requires retailers to charge 5 cents for plastic and paper bags. Hy-Vee does not have a store in Minneapolis, but there are numerous stores in the Twin Cities area and throughout greater Minnesota. 

Metro-area Hy-Vee locations: Brooklyn Park, Cottage Grove, Eagan, Lakeville, Lakeville (Fast & Fresh), Maple Grove, New Hope, Plymouth, Robbinsdale, Savage, Shakopee

Greater Minnesota Hy-Vee locations: Albert Lea, Austin, Fairmont, Faribault, Kasson, Mankato (2), Marshall, New Ulm, Owatonna, Pine Island, Plainview, Preston, Rochester (4), Spring Valley, St. Charles, St. Peter, Stewartville, Windom, Winona, Worthington, Zumbrota

“The spread of this virus is asking us all to take extraordinary measures and change the way we live our lives," said Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee  CEO and president. "We are continuing to adapt at Hy-Vee so that we can serve our customers and keep everyone in our stores as safe and healthy as possible."

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