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Secret shoppers rate Target, Best Buy among best for COVID-19 safety measures

The brands were graded on compliance with health and safety measures.

The two top big box retailers when it comes to COVID-19 safety? Minnesota's Best Buy and Target.

Ipsos sent nearly 3,500 mystery shoppers to dozens of physical locations for more than 25 brands in recent months to review each company's pandemic safety measures. Each brand was graded on its compliance with health and safety measures, such as:

  • Social distancing
  • Cleaning and sanitizing
  • Mask wearing
  • Availability of hand sanitizer

The top-ranked big box retailer in terms of coronavirus safety was Best Buy, with Ipsos giving the chain its "Best in Industry" award. It led the way for social distancing measures, sanitizer offerings and employee mask and glove usage.

"Our top priority throughout this pandemic has been the safety of our employees and customers," said Best Buy in a press release, later adding: "We’re proud to be recognized for our commitment to creating a safe in-store experience for customers and employees."

Target came in second in the big box retailer category, though did nab the top overall cleanliness title.

Both were also named among the four overall brand winners, along with Whole Foods and Costco.

Best Buy and Target have reported extremely strong sales since the start of the pandemic, with both emphasizing online orders and curbside pick-up. Target, with sales up $15 billion in 2020, is gearing up to quicken the pace on new store openings. Meanwhile Best Buy, despite online and in-store sales rising, laid off about 5,000 staffers earlier this year.

Ipsos' most COVID-safe quick serve restaurants were Panda Express, Krispy Kreme and McDonald's. Whole Foods and Lion Food took top marks in the grocery category. Citibank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, Chase, and U.S. Bank were the best in the banking category.

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