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Experts say it may be time for grocery stores to ban customers from coming inside

April 19, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 15: People are seen lined up in front of Whole Foods during the coronavirus pandemic on April 15, 2020 in New York City. Grocery stores across the country have limited the number of customers allowed inside. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Dozens of grocery store workers have died from the coronavirus, despite masks, temperature checks and capacity restrictions to keep them safe. So far, supermarkets have resisted the most draconian policy: banning customers from coming inside.

New York (CNN Business)Dozens of grocery store workers have died from the coronavirus, despite masks, temperature checks and capacity restrictions to keep them safe.

Grocery stores are still flooded with customers, and experts say it's time for large chains to go "dark" to the public and convert to curbside pickup and home delivery for food and other essential goods.

The union said 85% of its grocery store member workers reported that customers are not practicing social distancing in stores.

Mike Houston, general manager of Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op in Takoma Park, Maryland, decided to close his grocery store to the public in late March, when the state announced a shelter-in-place order, and switch to curbside pickup.

Public safety officials are not requiring essential stores to shut down to customers, but the US Labor Department last week recommended that retailers start "using a drive-through window or offering curbside pick-up" to protect workers for exposure to coronavirus.

Some companies and safety experts say it's not feasible to convert all grocery stores to delivery and pickup-only outposts.

Online pickup and delivery requires a much larger staff than grocery stores are currently equipped with.

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